Scientists in the US say they have taken a major step towards producing life from scratch in the laboratory.
Dr Craig Venter says in the Science journal that his team successfully transplanted an entire genome from one bacterium cell to another.
He says he hopes eventually to use the technique to create designer microbes, which could produce artificial fuel or help clean up toxic waste.
Dr Venter was a pioneer in mapping the human genome.
The ultimate plan is to throw artificially produced chromosomes, proteins and other building blocks into a primordial soup and watch as a primitive microbe sparks spontaneously into life.
Dr Venter concedes that this may be a long way away, but he says he has taken an important key step towards that goal.
His team, essentially, snatched the body of another life-form and invaded it with a new genetic code.
This, he s
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