FIRST AIRED: March 9, 2017

Nice work! Enjoy the show!

×

You’re busy. We get it.

Stay on top of the news with our Editor’s Picks newsletter.

US Edition
Intl. Edition
Unsubscribe at any time. One click, it’s gone.

Thanks for signing up!

×

Transcript

00:00:01
>> Yeast. It's well known for helping bread rise and brewing beer, but you may not know that it shares 26% of your genes. Now scientist are revealing that they've created five new man-made chromosomes of bakers yeast. Which with senior correspondent Ben Herscher says Promises a new era of designing complex life forms from scratch.
00:00:24
>> It says that the synthetic biology evolution is really gathering pace. Before now we've done synthetic copies of bacteria and viruses. This is the first time that scientists have done it for a eukaryotic cell, which is a cell that's got a nucleus just like human cells. So back in 2014, scientists created the first yeast chromosome.
00:00:44
Now, within just a couple of years, they've created five more. And they're now very confident that they can produce all the genome of a yeast, within a year or so.>> Yeast cells are already used to produce enhanced crops and medicines like insulin. But, if they do create the entire genome of yeast, the possibilities could be exciting and adventurous.
00:01:08
Whole new kinds of medicines, industrial chemicals and biofuels.>> So, the next real step forward is gonna be the work towards synthesizing a human genome which is 250 times bigger than a yeast genome, so it's a lot more work. But scientists have set a goal that they'd like to do that within ten years.
00:01:27
Now we're not talking about creating whole new human beings, you're talking about creating the genetic code behind a human being, which would be used for research purposes>> The DNA is designed on computers in a lab, and can now be very cheaply mass produced. For scientists, this is the next logical step in genetic engineering.
00:01:46
But the possibilities in sight have alarmed some critics, wondering where to draw the ethical boundary.