This week's question concerns synthetic biology research. A study published online by the journal "Science" details how scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute recently developed the first viable cell controlled by a synthetic genome. According to the researchers, the cell is called synthetic because it is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with chemicals, a chemical synthesizer, and information in a computer. They hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems.

What do you think? Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?