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'The Difference Between Life and No Life'

Synthetic biology is trucking along, but "more solid science" is needed, Craig Venter tells Bloomberg Businessweek. "I have been sure we're about to solve all the problems, and next year people will say, 'Where is it?' We have not done it yet,'" he adds.

Building a genome is akin to putting Lego blocks together, Bloomberg Businessweek notes. But Venter says that a good design and cheap and fast DNA synthesis is also necessary. "Genome design is going to be a key part of the future. That’s why we need fast, cheap, accurate DNA synthesis so you can make a lot of iterations of something and test them," he says. "The simple test is: Do you get life? We found just from one letter being wrong out of 1.1 million, it made the difference between life and no life."