Synthetic Genetic Shakespeares

In his book, Life at the Speed of Light: How to Hack the Genome (1), Dr. J. Craig Venter offers a personal reminiscence of brash scientific work that upended conventional wisdom.  Dr. Venter has consistently seized new technologies to advance knowledge and notes that a key, but sometimes underappreciated, factor in scientific success is what he terms problem solving.  Overcoming formerly intractable obstacles sometimes yield new technologies with great implications.  With Dr. Venter’s work in particular and synthetic biology in general, achievements once deemed almost impossible are now routine accomplishments (2).

Scientists aspire to engineer the genomes of complex organisms, but are currently stymied by technical issues inherent in the manipulation of gigantic DNA molecules.  However, Dr. George Church is optimistic that synthetic biologists will ultimately cruise past the roadblocks (2).  New contrivances and new methods will be needed and proposals to undertake a focused program to develop them…

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