It could be the first step to creating synthetic vaccines and biofuels. Its inventor says it's "the first self-replicating species we've had on the planet whose parent is a computer." Is it a huge new step toward creating artificial life? Or altering life as we know it?
■Class discussion: Like the video says, this sounds like the opening to a science fiction movie -- just before somethiing goes horribly wrong. But we've been messing around with cells for years now. Look up "bioengineered foods." Look up Dolly, the famous sheep that was cloned in 1996. Is this the next logical step in the evolution of genetic engineering? Are you surprised this has already happened? What are the advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering? Why the concern?