Synthetic: How Life Got Made

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Life is not what it used to be. In the final years of the twentieth century, emigres from engineering and computer science devoted themselves to biology and made a resolution: that if the aim of biology is to understand life, then making life would yield better theories than experimentation. Armed with the latest biotechnology techniques, these scientists treated biological media as elements for design and manufacture: viruses named for computers, bacterial genomes encoding passages from James Joyce, chimeric yeast buckling ...

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