2003: Drs. Venter, Smith and Hutchison (along with JCVI's Cynthia Andrews-Pfannkoch) made the first significant strides in the development of a synthetic genome by assembling the 5,386 base pair genome of bacteriophage phi X174 (phi X). They did so using short, single strands of synthetically produced, commercially available DNA (known as oligonucleotides) and using an adaptation of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), known as polymerase cycle assembly (PCA), to build the phi X genome. The team produced the synthetic phi X in just 14 days.
2007: JCVI researchers led by Carole Lartigue, Ph.D., announced the results of work published in the journal Science, which outlined the methods and techniques used to change one bacterial species, Mycoplasma capricolum, into another, Mycoplasma mycoides Large Colony (LC), by replacing one organism's genome with the other one's genome. Genome transplantation was the first essential enabling step in the field of synthetic genomics as it is a key mechanism by which chemically synthesized chromosomes can be activated into viable living cells.
January 2008: The second successful step in the JCVI teams' journey to create a cell controlled by synthetic DNA was completed when Gibson et al published in the journal Science, the synthetic M. genitalium genome. The team is still working on experiments to install a fully synthetic bacterial chromosome into a recipient cell and thus "boot up" a synthetic chromosome.
Since the beginning of the quest to understand and build a synthetic genome, Dr. Venter and his team have been concerned
|SOURCE J. Craig Venter Institute|
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