An artificial bacterial genome with the smallest number of genes needed for life has been created in a lab, opening the way for creating synthetic organisms with customized sets of genes aimed at specific tasks, such as eating oil. The newly created bacterium, which can metabolize nutrients and self-replicate (divide and reproduce), brings the team one step closer to building custom artificial life with particular functionalities, they said. The artificial bacterium has only 473 genes, compared with the thousands that exist in wild bacteria.
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