More Genes |

TBC Staff

TBC: The advance of science has not been a friend to evolution. Since "presumption" plays a significant role in formulating evolutionary theory, recent discoveries have roughly handled some evolutionary presumptions about simpler life forms.

'More genes' needed to make life [Excerpts]

By Paul Rincon

BBC News science reporter

Scientists trying to make artificial life forms in the lab may have more work ahead of them than they thought.

The simplest life forms could require twice as many genes to survive than was previously believed, a research team claims in the journal Nature.

The "minimal genome" is the least number of genes an organism needs to survive in its environment.

The traditional way of identifying essential genes may label some as expendable when they are not.

The surprise was the metabolism got to be really rather larger than people had suggested the smallest metabolism could be.

A US research team created the world's first synthetic virus in 2002, but scientists are divided about whether viruses are, strictly speaking, alive.

A team at Rockefeller University, US, has created small synthetic vesicles capable of expressing genes that resemble a crude kind of biological cell.

And Dr Craig Venter - the man behind the privately funded human genome sequence - has announced his intention to create a man-made microbe with the minimum number of genes needed to sustain life.

The work in Nature suggests they may have further to go than anyone had predicted (