Life, but not as we know it: A future full of hopes and fears

From BBC News:Chromosomes

The science of complexity is perhaps the greatest challenge of all, Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees believes. The biggest conundrum is humanity and how we came to be. One man who is set on trying to unfold the complexity of life and how we are made up and came to be in order to understand our future is Craig Venter. He was one of the masterminds behind the sequencing of the human genome – the genetic code that creates life. His next big challenge is to create living, artificial organisms from a kit of genes, and he is well on his way. He says an artificial single cell organism is possible in two years.

To unravel the complexity of life on our planet in order to understand more about where humans come from, Dr Venter embarked on a round the world ocean voyage to take samples of seawater every 200 miles. At every stop they found new species. At one location, one barrelful contained 1.3 million new genes and 50,000 new species. One certainty in an uncertain world is clear to Prof Rees: “Whatever happens in this uniquely crucial century will resonate in the remote future and perhaps far beyond the Earth.”

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