The Guardian reports that Craig Venter has created a synthetic chromosome:
[We] can reveal that a team of 20 top scientists assembled by Mr Venter, led by the Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith, has already constructed a synthetic chromosome, a feat of virtuoso bio-engineering never previously achieved. Using lab-made chemicals, they have painstakingly stitched together a chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code.
The DNA sequence is based on the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium which the team pared down to the bare essentials needed to support life, removing a fifth of its genetic make-up. The wholly synthetically reconstructed chromosome, [has been] christened Mycoplasma laboratorium.
The story goes on to describe how Venter and his colleagues plan to insert the synthetic chromosome into bacterial cells to create “the first new artificial life form on Earth.”
The newspaper also has an interview with Venter.