Will a fully synthetic, functional multicellular organism be created before January 1st, 2040?

Genetic engineering has made significant advances in recent years, enabling the modification of existing organisms for various applications, such as agriculture, medicine, and environmental remediation. However, the creation of a fully synthetic, functional multicellular organism with a distinct synthetic genome represents a major feat in the field of genetic engineering. This would involve the design and assembly of an organism's entire genome from scratch and the successful development of a complex, multicellular life form with the ability to grow, reproduce, and perform specific functions. The feasibility and timeframe for achieving this goal remain uncertain.

Will a fully synthetic, functional multicellular organism with a distinct synthetic genome be created before January 1st, 2040?

Resolution criteria:

This question will resolve to "YES" if, before January 1st 2040, a fully synthetic, functional multicellular organism with a distinct synthetic genome is publicly and credibly documented to have been created, as evidenced by:

  1. The design and assembly of an entirely synthetic genome, which must:

    a. Be distinct from any naturally occurring genome, by meeting the following criteria: (i.) Containing at least 30% of the genome as novel sequences or structures that are not found in existing organisms, based on comparisons to comprehensive genomic databases. (ii.) Possessing a unique combination of genes, regulatory elements, or other genomic features that are not observed together in any known natural organism. (iii.) Demonstrating innovative genomic design strategies, such as alternative genetic codes, artificial chromosomes, or new regulatory mechanisms, that have not been directly derived from existing organisms.

    b. Encode the necessary information for the development, growth, and reproduction of a multicellular organism.

  2. The successful creation of a living, multicellular organism using the synthetic genome, which must demonstrate:

    a. The ability to grow and develop from a single cell into a complex, multicellular structure with differentiated cell types and tissue organization.

    b. The capacity to perform specific functions, such as photosynthesis, locomotion, or response to environmental stimuli, as determined by the synthetic genome's design.

    c. The ability to reproduce, either sexually or asexually, and pass on the synthetic genome to subsequent generations.

A successful demonstration must be accompanied by:

  1. A publicly accessible report or documentation detailing the methods, technologies, and processes used for the design and assembly of the synthetic genome, as well as the creation and characterization of the multicellular organism.

  2. Independent validation of the results by at least two separate entities with expertise in genetic engineering, synthetic biology, or related fields. These entities can be research groups, institutions, or companies.

  3. The publication of the findings in one or more peer-reviewed scientific journals, including a thorough analysis of the synthetic genome's distinct features compared to naturally occurring genomes.

I will use my discretion when resolving this question, possibly in consultation with experts.

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