Geneticist and biotech pioneer Craig Venter unveils the process of experimentation and research that allowed his team to create the “first synthetic cell”. The video includes not only information about how the genetic code was created first on a computer and includes “watermarks” such as the name of the new species’ official website, but also about how the team studied ethical issues relating to the project of creating synthetic life. The project took 15 years and was aimed at creating “error-free genetic code”.
Venter announced that aside from the names of over 40 researchers and a web address, the genetic code for his synthetic organism also contains several quotes, such as “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life”, by James Joyce. The team also included a quote from American Prometheus, a biography about Robert Oppenheimer: “See things not as they are but as they might be”. Observers note that routine cellular mutation will likely cause these watermarks to morph over time.