"We're heading into an era where people will be writing DNA programs like the early days of computer programming, but who will own these programs?"
Today a scientist can write a long genetic program on a computer just as a maestro might compose a musical score, then use a synthesizer to convert that digital code into actual DNA. Experiments with "natural" DNA indicate that when a faux chromosome gets plopped into a cell, it will be able to direct the destruction of the cell's old DNA and become its new "brain" -- telling the cell to start making a valuable chemical, for example, or a medicine or a toxin, or a bio-based gasoline substitute.By this time next year, the first living cells with fully artificial genomes could be growing.
So, which do you think legislators should most fear, bio-terror or bio-error? Check the Washington Post for more details on the status of mankind's creation of artificial life.