A group of researchers, including three Indian-Americans, led by genome pioneer J Craig Venter have developed the first bacteria cell controlled by a synthetic genome.
“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made,” Venter said, as the discovery was unveiled.
“We call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesiser, starting with information in a computer,” he said.
The thee Indian-American scientists are Sanjay Vashee, Radha Krishnakumar, and Prashanth P Parmar, who contributed in the pioneering research that created synthetic cell which will open the way to creating useful microbes from scratch to make products like vaccines and biofuels.
The breakthrough – USD 40 million and more than a decade in the making – is a critical milestone in the burgeoning field of synthetic genomics.