Researchers create altered synthetic genome, in move with potential medical benefits
Ian Sample Science editor
Scientists have created the world’s first living organism that has a fully synthetic and radically altered DNA code.
The lab-made microbe, a strain of bacteria that is normally found in soil and the human gut, is similar to its natural cousins but survives on a smaller set of genetic instructions.
The bug’s existence proves life can exist with a restricted genetic code and paves the way for organisms whose biological machinery is commandeered to make drugs and useful materials, or to add new features such as virus resistance.
Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) used giant lasers to flash-freeze water into its exotic superionic phase and record X-ray diffraction patterns to identify its atomic structure for the very first time—all in just a few billionths of a second. The findings are reported today in Nature.
In 1988, scientists first predicted that water would transition to an exotic state of matter characterized by the coexistence of a solid lattice of oxygen and liquid-like hydrogen—superionic ice—when subjected to the extreme pressures and temperatures that exist in the interior of water-rich giant planets like Uranus and Neptune. These predictions remained in place until 2018, when a team led by scientists from LLNL presented the first experimental evidence for this strange state of water.
According to research around the future of Artificial Intelligence, the human race could vanish within our lifetime.
At last, some good news, then.
He concludes that the human race could cease to exist by 2050 - or that we become immortal.
Nesbit explains the theory known as ASI, or 'artificial super-intelligence', which posits that AI will evolve into a supercomputer which learns so quickly that it surpasses human intelligence, and solves all problems.
On the one hand, you have the hopefuls like Ray Kurzweil imploring us not to fear artificial intelligence, pointing instead to the older and more pressing threats like bioterrorism or nuclear war.
In fact, Kurzweil argues that mental capabilities are enhanced by AI, and he points out that global rates of violence, war and murder have declined dramatically.