Rumors of J. Craig Venter's achievements in creating artificial life are again linkurl:circulating; in the press - the Guardian reported this weekend that Venter has successfully made a fully synthetic chromosome, dubbed Mycoplasma laboratorium. The chromosome reportedly consists of 381 genes, and in total contains 580,000 nucleotide base pairs. In a linkurl:study; published this June, Venter (who is a member of The Scientist's editorial board) and colleagues switched two closely related species of bacteria by transplanting their genomes. This transplantation step would be needed to activate synthetic chromosomes as well. So far, however, the new work is not accompanied by a peer-reviewed publication. Venter "is poised to announce" the discovery in the next couple weeks, according to the Guardian article, and possibly even today, at the J. Craig Venter Institute's annual meeting. The institute's media contact, Heather Kowalski, did not return a phone call for clarification, but Nature's news blog,...

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