Наука и техника

Учёные создали первое живое существо из неживой материи

«Вы играете в сотворение жизни, словно вы Бог?» – спросил журналист Wall Street Journal Крейга Вентера, основателя Института геномных исследований (США, Калифорния), когда учёный создал простейший биосинтетический организм – бактерию, способную дышать, питаться и размножаться. Вентер ответил, что этот прорыв в науке убедительно доказывает: не существует особой «жизненной силы» – взяв несколько неживых химических молекул, можно создать живое существо.

Бактерия Mycoplasma mycoides с искусственно синтезированным ДНК появилась благодаря учёным Института Крейга Вентера. Доктор Клайд Хатчинсон, возглавлявший международную команду учёных-микробиологов, рассказал, что была проделана колоссальная работа, начавшаяся ещё в 90-е годы прошлого века. Mycoplasma mycoides – это примитивный организм, обладающий минимальным набором ДНК: в нём всего 900 генов (для сравнения: у человека в ДНК входит 20 тыс. генов).

Генные инженеры смогли убрать из ДНК «лишние» гены (т.е. не отвечающие за жизненно важные функции), а оставшиеся 437 синтезировали из неживых химических молекул. Первое искусственное живое существо способно жить пока только в лабораторных условиях. Биологи считают, что биосинтетическая бактерия не сможет конкурировать с бактериями, живущими в естественной среде. Это обстоятельство должно успокоить противников создания «искусственной жизни», опасающихся непредсказуемых последствий. До создания генома человека ещё далеко, однако ясно одно – будущее за биотехнологиями и фундаментальной наукой.

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