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Scientists create artificial cell that reveals minimum essential genes to life
Scientists have been able to create a 'minimal cell' using genes just essential to life. Lab-made bacterium with smallest genome could read the DNA and it could bring itself to life as an artificial minimal bug, it has been reported.

Considered to be a major break through in life sciences, the creation has become a talking point in the scientific circles since it the lab-created bacterium with fewest number of genes or the smallest genome multiplying itself.

"It seems that new vistas have opened for creating synthetic organisms with customized sets of genes aimed to do highly specialized jobs and specific tasks. Soon, we may have the garbage eating bugs as well as those eating oil spills over the sea being marketed," said medical physicist Deepak Arora who works with a private hospital.

The lab-created artificial bacterium has only 473 genes, while the natural least complicated bacteria have several thousand genes. The team of scientists, who created the bacterium in the lab, is yet to decode functions of 149 of 473 essential-to-life genes.

"A lot of research is still needed even on newly created bacterium, which has been able to metabolize nutrients needed for cell division and reproduction. However, this breakthrough has brought us to building customized artificial life with highly specialized functionalities," added Arora while pointing out to the ethical dimension of science of artificial life.

For last few decades scientists had been working to find out which genes were absolutely necessary for life and how to create life in the lab. According to scientists, a minimal cell can now be designed to perform specific function efficiently with least potential to mutate.

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