From my website: http://www.creation-club.org/1/post/2010/05/pseudo-life.html
Bold headlines were appearing across news outlets this week screaming virtually the same bewildering question: Had life been created in a lab? A team of scientists from UCLA successfully produced a self-replicating cell running on computer generated DNA. The science-fiction-like feat was boasting some impressive hype, but did J. Craig Venter and his team actually create life?
The team, thanks to fifteen years of research and countless trial and error tests, constructed a bacterial chromosome copied after another. Despite clever news splashes and media frenzy, life had not been created from scratch. The synthetic cell was merely chromosomes in one bacteria cell being replaced by that of another. J. Craig Venter more explicitly lays out the details:
"We announced the first cell that is totally controlled by a synthetic chromosome, that we designed in a computer based on an existing chromosome. We built it from four bottles of chemicals.. that's over a million base pairs [of chromosomes]. We assembled that and transplanted it into a recipient cell and that new chromosome started being read by the machinery in the cell, producing new proteins, and totally transformed that cell into a new species coded by the synthetic chromosome."(1)
However, the team is quick to acknowledge that the feat was not creation of life - just a re-constructing of it. It is still pre-existing information - information that cannot be created in a lab. Venter elaborates, "We created a new cell. It's alive. But we didn't create life from scratch. We created. As all life on this planet is. Out of a living cell" (1). This is no different than mere "alteration within a kind (at the family, genus, or species level)" (2).
Even though the research was technically successful, the bacteria still did not function flawlessly. Many of the synthesized genes did not function correctly, and those genes which did behave were deemed useless for human purposes. In fact, all the cell essentially did was grow and reproduce. (3)
Answers in Genesis' molecular geneticist Georgia Purdom describes the genetic cell as being like "taking the hard drive of computer #1 and putting it into computer #2 that has had its own hard drive removed. So effectively computer #2 becomes computer #1" (2).
Dr. David Menton (PhD, Biology) of Answers in Genesis adds that the research was "genetic plagiarism" in a sense as it took the handiwork of God and "refashioned it". (2)
God created the heavens and the earth, including all Life, approximately six thousand years ago as revealed in the first chapter of Genesis. All the pre-existing information and original "handiwork" was the result of God's creation. Without it, research like this would be completely impossible. Millions of dollars, brilliant scientists, and hallmark technology and laboratory equipment still cannot create anything remotely close to life.