The Edge Magazine has released an issue dedicated to constructive biology. The article is very well written and gives a beautiful view of where we are headed as far as our *playing god* is concerned. Church clearly proves that he is an excellent scientific writer as he explains the present scenario of synthetic biology in layman’s language.
On the whole he discusses that as we are just beginning to manipulate biology with precision, people are getting excited. Newer technologies are enabling individual to do larger things and an individual can either do good or bad. This is demonstrated by the fact that today any person with a computer and decent enough programming skills is able to create a computer virus/worm which can cost billions of dollars to the world economy.
If we do the same in biology, we will give complete freedom to a single person to create whatever he wants. So, addressing security concerns should be of utmost priority for international community and government.
I also liked a few mind-bending sentences in the article such as:
“Simulating a Living Thing on a Living Thing.”
“We seem to be ‘designed’ by nature to be good designers.”
There is also a (short) response to this article by George Dyson. I replicate that response below:
“Are we learning to manipulate life or is life learning to manipulate us?
A plausible scenario for how we arrived at life as we know it is that primitive organisms were infected by self-replicating parasites, learned to adopt those self-replicating processes, and became eukaryotic cells. Now, our still-primitive life-forms have again been invaded by self-replicating parasites (a network of code-consuming and code-spewing microprocessors) and life will, once again, adopt these self-replicating processes, on its own terms, for its own ends (with our help). Life (and evolution) as we know it will never be the same.”
This is quite possible, isn’t it?
Click here to read that article.