The Tall, The Deep, The Long/Designer Genomes; Extreme Engineering; Scientific American Presents; by Hopkin; 4 Page(s)
"Life! I've created LIFE!" shrieks the crazed scientist, eyes wild, hair spiking every which way, deep in the throes of magelomania. The scene is recognizable at once as the melodramatic centerpiece of many a late-night sci-fi flick, both good and bad.
What's more incredible is that such a scene may be playing itself out in a real lab sometime soon. The main difference-aside from the fact that most scientists now comb their hair-will be the creature on the table. Rather than a hulking monster made of body parts pilfered from a graveyard and stitched together by some scientist's fawning lackey, the artificial organism will be a bacterium-a microscopic life-form 1,000 times smaller than the smallest grain of sand.