WASHINGTON — Scientists are advancing slowly toward one of the most audacious goals humans have ever set for themselves: creating artificial life.
They've already accomplished some steps needed to construct a simple, single-celled organism that's capable of evolving and reproducing itself — basic requirements for life.
"We have made considerable progress," said Jack Szostak, an artificial life investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md. "Any prediction like this is just a guess, but I'm hoping we'll have a synthetic cell in under 10 years.''
Such a cell would be ``unrelated to any existing life form on Earth,'' Szostak said.