[DEBATE] Reading vs. Writing Genomes


Everyone is reading genetic data left right and centre. When will we (if ever) get to a point where we can write a genome from scratch? I’m not interested in the ethical implications per se, rather I want to know how advanced current medical sciences are and how long we’ll have to wait for that.


Your question is super timely!! I was just reading this article this morning: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/may/15/cambridge-scientists-create-worlds-first-living-organism-with-fully-redesigned-dna?

Of all living things, scientists redesigned the DNA of E.Coli :)) I find that funny, because this particular bacteria has caused me lots of health problems in the past and it’s very difficult to kill, being quite resistant to many antibiotics.

And for such a tiny organism:

“The artificial genome holds 4m base pairs, the units of the genetic code spelled out by the letters G, A, T and C. Printed in full on A4 sheets, it runs to 970 pages, making the genome the largest by far that scientists have ever built.”

This is the research paper, you can read it if you happen to have access to Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1192-5