Dr. Venter is a biology guru. Not only his team, together with the US government, was the first to sequence the human genome, but (in 2010) they had managed to create what had been called the first synthetic life form.
MIT biologists are reprogramming gut bacteria as "live therapeutics."
The latest term buzzing around the food world is one you're not likely to know: synthetic biology, or "synbio." Grist calls it "the next front in the never-ending GMO war." So while we're still figuring out what to make of GMOs, farmers, food suppliers and chefs should start to get to know this new method for developing foods.
Animal gene editing is being used to create miniature pigs, cows without horns and hairier cashmere goats. Plastic surgery might eventually extend to the molecular domain, changing us from the inside out. The scientists in this movement stand to become some of the wealthiest scientist-entrepreneurs in history, depending on the outcome of patent wars. But there could be immense unforeseen consequences.
We are sequencing the world -- from ourselves to all of the organisms upon which we depend as a living planet. In the future, our planetary genome might include new life forms built in the lab; there is even talk of the possibility of a resurrected Neanderthal, carried by a surrogate human mother. Science fiction? Not anymore.