Scientists on Thursday formally announced the start of a 10-year project aimed at vastly improving the ability to chemically manufacture DNA, with one of the goals being to synthetically create an entire human genome.
Plans for the project, which leaked last month, have already set off an ethical debate, because the ability to chemically fabricate the complete set of human chromosomes could theoretically allow the creation of babies without biological parents.
Some critics also objected to the secrecy surrounding a meeting to discuss the project at Harvard Medical School in May. The organizers said they avoided publicity so as to not jeopardize publication of the proposal in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The publication occurred on Thursday by the journal Science.