Edge holds a forum on the meaning of the synthetic cell breakthrough. Daniel Dennet imagines a possible future:

Once the techniques honed by Venter and his team become widely known, will it be utterly beyond the capabilities and budgets of, say, well-trained biology majors to develop their own artificial life forms? That is not at all clear. What good will it do to have international agreements about the obligations of laboratories to equip their creations with default-apoptosis machinery if there are thousands of free-lancers engaging in bio-hacking? The price we will pay for this huge amplification of our technological prowess is probably an equal and opposite vulnerability. Welcome to the fast lane, humanity.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.