Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The man who helped map the human genome says that scientists will one day be able to use 3D printing technology to create alien life forms on Earth.
Dr Craig Venter wrote in his latest book “Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life” that scientists could design basic organisms in the future based on alien life forms by using a robotically controlled genome sequencing unit.
Venter created the world’s first synthetic life form back in 2010, proving the principal that genomes could be designed on the computer, made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome.
According to Venter’s new theory, robotically controlled genome sequencing units could one day be sent to other planets to read the DNA sequence of any alien microbe life that may be there. Futuristic spacecraft will be able to “beam” the makeup of the genomes back to Earth for re-creation.
“In years to come it will be increasingly possible to create a wide variety of [synthetic] cells from computer-designed software,” he wrote in his book. “The synthetic version of a Martian genome could then be used to recreate Martian life on Earth.”
Scientists would also be able to manipulate and modify the DNA by adding certain features in order to create a more custom-designed microbe. This could prove to be particularly useful for the farming or medicine industries. Once the alien cells are placed on a computer, they could be digitized and sent all over the Internet, or even to other planets for research.
Although the 66-year-old veteran scientist believes that the potential for printing aliens on Earth is feasible, he says the ability to do so still remains quite a ways off but that it “will become a possibility soon enough.” Venter also says that this DNA transmission through space would likely work both ways. He says that aliens would potentially be able to pick up Earth-based DNA to create our species on their planet.
Although the idea of recreating alien DNA seems intriguing, scientists in January showed that piracy could affect more than the movie industry in the future. Researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT said they were able to uncover the identies of almost 50 people who donated DNA to genetic research studies, armed with only a laptop and an Internet connection.
The team found that they were able to easily identify men who had donated DNA to public databases because they could trace their Y chromosomes along with their surnames. If everything were to work out as planned according to Venter’s theory, then we may have to worry about more than the privacy of our email in the future.