It's alive! Team advances work on artificial life

A scientific team led by genomic pioneer Craig Venter has taken an organism and turned it into a different species in what's being billed as the world's first genome transplant. The scientific advance lays the groundwork for creating artificial life forms and demonstrates the ability to implant a set of genetic instructions into an organism. The next phase of this approach will be to create genetic codes on a computer and insert them into organisms, creating new life forms. From a commercial perspective, Venter is looking to create new biofuels that would replace the oil and gas in use today without damaging the environment. Critics, though, say that the work raises the prospect of terrifying new bioweapons--or a disaster sparked by an accident in the lab.

- see the team's release
- here's the report from The Guardian