Scientists create 'genetic firewall' for new forms of life

January 21, 2015 6:02 PM

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A year after creating organisms that use a genetic code different from every other living thing, two teams of scientists have achieved another "synthetic biology" milestone: They created bacteria that cannot survive without a specific manmade chemical, potentially overcoming a major obstacle to wider use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The advance, reported on Wednesday in Nature, offers what one scientist calls a "genetic firewall" to achieve biocontainment, a means of insuring that GMOs cannot live outside a lab or other confined environment.

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