It’s no longer far-fetched to synthesize a basic organism. However, a team of researchers has taken that work one step further. They recently reconstituted and reanimated an extinct virus, horsepox, using DNA they’d ordered via mail. The team stitched together multiple gene fragments (each with about 30,000 base pairs) into the complete 212,000-pair horsepox genome and inserted it into cells already infected with a different pox, bringing the inanimate virus to life. It’s clever work, especially given the relative complexity of a pox virus compared to earlier efforts, but it’s also a double-edged sword — it could at once provide a breakthrough in medical research and pose a potential threat.
With great power comes great responsibility. Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do something, and you most DEFINITELY should not release and article about this if you want to keep people from doing stupid things.
Did we learn nothing from Star Wars? Don’t abuse your power.