Virus “built from scratch” reports Nature Science Update, 14 November 2003. Craig Venter and colleagues at the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives, Rockville, Maryland have “cobbled together” a virus named phi-X174 by linking short stretches of DNA together to make a copy of the virus genome. They then injected the synthetic viral genomes into bacteria, which read the DNA code and manufactured fully formed viruses. This is not the first time a man-made virus has been made, but Venter’s process was much quicker – two weeks compared with the previous attempt, which took two years.

Editorial Comment: All Venter’s team really did was copy an already existing virus’ DNA code – which they did not write in the first place. The bacteria (which Venter’s team did not make) actually built the virus. Furthermore, if Venter, or some other scientists, ever really manage to build any kind of life from raw materials, all they will have proven is that it takes an intelligent creator to make life “from scratch”. The fact that Venter’s team were able to make a virus in a shorter time, indicates they had a smarter way for doing it. This is a good example of how it doesn’t take time to make something complex – it takes talent! Keep that in mind when people claim the world has be old because it contains so much complex life. (Ref. virus, bacteria, life)