Isn’t this how every horror movie or “there’s a fungus among us” movie starts.
First scene: A lab in a sunny, secluded and security conscious area. Men and women in surgical garb hard at work finalizing an experiment. They sigh meaningfully, rejoice and congratulate each other as they complete it. They promise each other foreshadowingly that what they just did will change the world.
Suddenly the sounds of screams pierces the sterile labs, eyes widen above surgical masks, and the sound of breaking glass offscreen as the horrible new…gene, microbe, virus…whatever…escapes.
Cut to doctor (who receives grisly death later in the movie only after supplying our hero with necessary background information) who says, “My God, what have I done?
Well this is the real life start of that movie that will most assuredly end with something akin to zombies. I don’t know the science behind zombies but I’m pretty sure this is how they start.
A scientist is poised to create the world’s first man-made species, a synthetic microbe that could lead to an endless supply of biofuel, according to The Telegraph. Craig Venter, an American who cracked the human genome in 2000, has applied for a patent at more than 100 national offices to make a bacterium from laboratory-made DNA setting his company up to become the “Microbesoft” of the 21st century.
It is part of an effort to create designer bugs to manufacture hydrogen and biofuels, as well as absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases.
A colleague said: “For the first time, God has competition. Venter and his colleagues have breached a societal boundary, and the public hasn’t even had a chance to debate the far-reaching social, ethical and environmental implications of synthetic life.” (Or the implications of zombies)
But don’t worry Mr Venter did ask a panel of experts to examine the implications of creating synthetic life. The committee, led by Mildred Cho at Stanford University, had no objections to the work but pointed out that scientists must take responsibility for any impact their new organisms had if they got out of the lab.
What do we care if they take responsibility for the zombies? Zombies don’t take orders. (If they did, maybe they would do the jobs Americans won’t do.)
But they tell us not to worry again because the organisms can be designed to die as soon as they leave laboratory conditions. First off, didn’t any of you read Jurassic Park? How about the movie? Or any movie of the 20th century for that matter. Mark the date folks. We just entered Zombieville USA.