Playing God In The Lab

Gene pioneers are on the threshold of creating life

Sometime in the next few years, gene pioneer J. Craig Venter hopes to be the first to turn inanimate chemicals in a test tube into a living organism. The result will be only a primitive microbe, but its creation will represent "a huge technical advance" in humans' ability to manipulate the natural world, says University of Pennsylvania ethicist David C. Magnus--a bigger story, some bioethicists say, than the cloning of Dolly.

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