Great Protocell Future Salon with David Deamer and Mark A. Badau.
Here are a couple of my running note:
Michelle Cadieux during the Networking: This is even better than at Google ;-)
Great round of questions from the beginning. David Deamer at the end thanked and said that he never had such a great audience.
David Deamer took us from the big bang to the creation of stars and planets to life on earth.
Most complex molecule out in space is 11 atoms long.
The thinking is that a planet of the size of Mars crashed into the earth and the moon was a by product of all that ruckus ;-) All carbon molecules as building blocks for life where destroyed at that impact. These got added again through meteoroids. - How do we know? - It is still happening and we can analysis these meteoroids and they contain the building blocks of life.
Big hot salty ocean soup on the planet. Volcanic activity created land and sweet water creators. That water is more conducive to the creation of life. He is going to do some studies on Hawaii to proof this hypothesis.
Mark A. Bedau looked at the ethical consequences of creation of life.
We have to differentiate between synthetic biology top down approach what Craig Venter is doing and his prediction is that we will have artificial synthetic life this year: Taking DNA out of a cell, synthesizing new DNA, replacing it and letting that cell replicate will probably be achieved within the next couple of months. [You read it hear first ;-)]
What David Deamer is trying to do is the bottom up approach, much less likely to produce a problem.
Mark was part of a PACE ethics workshops where scientists came together financed by a European Union grand and worked on guidelines for the study of protocells.
Conclusion from PACE:
Ethical implications depend on the achievement in the laboratory.
We are currently before the first milestone!
No one has yet created something that is alive, no implication yet: Currently soap, oil as dangerous as your kitchen or bath.
- Can replicate
- Can survive outside the laboratory
- Released outside the laboratory
- E toxic or infectious
Question from Brad Templeton: What about useful organisms that that don’t replicate
Mark B: We are able to do that already.
Traditional risk analysis is not going to help in this case, we are working in the dark, as we don’t even know the branches of our decision tree.
He is no fan of relinguishing, but I forgot what his argument was why.
You have to watch the replay. It may be already available on ustream.tv Future Salon channel.
Was a lot of fun and people are still discussiong stuff outside of Southern Cross, but I will chaise them out now and go to bed. Looking forward to this one.