AofA Technology: Monster Cells

As many of y’all know, I wrote Acts of the Apostles, (a nanotech thriller about (among other things) Iraqi bioweapons programs)during the years 1995-99.

As the book was science fiction, it contains a lot of stuff that I just made up. Since then it’s been fun to collect instances where the real world has caught up with Acts.

Here’s a link to an article in the Washington Post that describes an effort by Craig Venter(!!) to create an artificial cell that’s in many ways similar to the “monster cell” of AofA.

This paragraph is right out the conversation between Dieter and Judith:

To ensure safety, Smith and Venter said the cell will be deliberately hobbled to render it incapable of infecting people; it also will be strictly confined, and designed to die if it does manage to escape into the environment.

But I particularly like this paragraph:

“I’m less worried about the minimal genome project taking off and creating some kind of monster bug than I would be, partly because I have a sense that the scientists are aware of the possible risks of what they’re doing,” said Mildred Cho, a bioethicist at Stanford University who was chairwoman of the ethics panel.

Thanks to wetmachiner Ron, who sent me this link a while ago. I have a bunch more that I’ll put up from time to time.

Venter, of course, is a fascinating fellow in his own right. He’s the guy who nearly patented the human genome. But more about that another day. And any resemblences between Venter and Monty Meekman, it goes without saying, are purely coincidental.

By the way, if you haven’t read the book yet you can download it for free from this site. Or better yet, buy a copy! I could use the dough!

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