Southland Times: After the doctor created life the bacterium’s offspring took over

Joe Bennett writes in an opinion piece in the Southland Times about Craig Venter’s recent creation of a functional synthetic genome, pointing out that those who would like to curtail any further such research are unlikely to be successful.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“The consequences of Dr Venter’s actions will be terrifying. Our television screens will be swamped with bearded clergymen and other moralists. Clasping their beards and cocking their heads to one side they will discuss the ethics of Dr Venter’s work.

“Are these created organisms likely to threaten us? Probably not. Are they likely to be beneficial? Yes, because they’d be designed that way. Is it possible that someone nasty could make an organism to threaten the world? Yes. Is it probable? No. One meets few top geneticists who are also terrorists. And besides, anyone who wants to hold the world to ransom has already got things like anthrax.

“But although these are strong arguments, they aren’t why I think the moralists will fail to stop Dr Venter. That reason is simple. It is evolution.”