Molecular Biology: Closer to Synthetic Life

Since the dawn of science, one of mankind's most impossible dreams has been the creation of life in a test tube.

Last week scientists moved a step closer to making the dream possible. In Palo Alto, two biochemists at the Stanford University School of Medicine reported that they had successfully synthesized a virus that could both infect bacteria and reproduce itself.

Stanford's 1959 Nobel Laureate Arthur Kornberg and Biochemist Mehran Goulian began their historic synthesis with four off-the-shelf inert chemical compounds called nucleotides—the basic building block of the DNA molecule, which controls...

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