*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Synthia: not creation in the petrie dish

by
02 June 2010

iStock

From Mr P. A. Roby

Sir, — Let us indeed not fall into the delusion that “life” has been created by Dr D. C. Ventry and his colleagues (Comment, 28 May).

The scientists chose 500 genes, which could be enough to enable an organism to survive, from the DNA code of a small species of bacterium. They added a watermark section that would enable them to identify the new molecule and copied it synthetically in short lengths. They could not join up these lengths in the right order, but managed to get some yeast cells to do that for them. The yeast multiplied using the new DNA and making more of it.

Some of the new DNA inserted into another bacterium whose DNA had been removed. This new bacterium was alive; it could multiply only artificially made DNA. It was a modification of a particular species. Was it a sub-species?

It is the synthesising of a new molecule of DNA and the tremendous skill of enabling it to replace the DNA of another species of bacterium which is being rightly celebrated, not the creation of a new life form. To create a new life form you have to be able to create not just the “brain” (represented by the new DNA) of a bacterium, but also its body, which is infinitely more complicated, with its own bio­chemical pathways, control systems, raw products needed for growth, and so on. This new life form is a modification of a naturally occurring bacterium.

The true complexity of a free living organism, even as small and relatively simple as a bacterium, is so amazing that it causes us to wonder how such a “beast” could arrive on this planet by itself, without the inspiration of its Creator.

Advances in technology in all branches of science are now es­calating at a phenomenal rate. We humans have to remember that the more we discover, the more we find there is to know. Whose single brain can wisely take in and use the vast expansion of scientific data? Can wisdom and spiritual understanding to employ it be assessed by rational analysis? Do we not have to consult our Creator as to how rightly to use this knowledge?

P. A. ROBY
(Reader)
5 Powis Mews,
Flitwick
Bedford
MK45 1SU

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear below your letter unless requested otherwise.

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)