SCIENCE

Talks For Creation Of Human Genome Was Supposed To Be Secret

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • May, 15, 2016, 02:01 PM
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The Human Genome
(Photo : Getty Images/Mario Tama) A digital representation of the human genome.

Scientists are considering the possibility of the creation of a synthetic human. They are looking to use chemicals to create a human genome, and copy DNA contained in human chromosomes.

Originally, the talks regarding the concept were held in private by 150 scientists at Harvard. Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist from Northwestern University, and scientist Drew Endy said that it was time the discussion was held in public. 

According to Fox News, an invitation for the Harvard meeting noted that the proposed project's goal was to create a complete human genome in a cell line in a matter of 10 years. The idea has evoked both excitement and worry in the life sciences community. Some scientists are worried that synthetic genome would be used to create human beings without biological parents.

Harvard genetics professor George Church said that the goal of the project is not to create people, but to create cells. "They're painting a picture which I don't think represents the project," said Church.

The project is called "HGP-Write: Testing Large Synthetic Genomes in Cells." The project has yet to receive funding, but foundations will soon be invited to contribute.

According to the New York Times, the creation of entire genomes would help alter DNA.

In regards to why the meetings were held in private, Church said that because his team submitted a paper to a scientific journal, they must wait until it is published before allowing information from the study to be discussed.

Some news outlets argued against the clandestineness of the project. Gizmodo wrote that, "why hold a meeting on such an important topic before the paper gets approved for publication? Wouldn't it have made more sense to hold the meeting after? In fact, the press are often invited to read papers prior to publication under the embargo system."

Although the study for synthetic humans has yet to publish, it seems the project is gaining much notoriety already.

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