That was the big story of the week in biology: the creation, in the lab, of a synthetic organism - a radically transgenic (transgenomic?) bacterium that had all its DNA replaced by a chromosome sequenced on a computer! So - not entirely synthetic, but enough where it counts, in its DNA. With a website url embedded within its code, no less! Heck, for all I know, the code for the above video might be embedded in there too! Or, at least, Dr. Venter's own face.
I know this has caused much stir in the media and for a number of people who were apparently not expecting anything like this to happen so soon (and Venter's hubris sure helps fan the flames as you can see in the comments thread responding to the TED video). Well, I think that most people familiar with modern molecular biology knew this was coming. Too soon? I don't know. Hardly surprising though, especially given Venter's record and stated ambitions in this area. I don't know enough about the molecular biology involved to say whether this is as big a breakthrough as is being suggested, but the feat sure seems pretty impressive.
As for what it means - I'll let the moralists on various sides (from the POTUS on down to your corner church and/or eco-anarchist co-op) sort that one out! We know (and have known for some time) that the technology is here, more or less, and now we have this semi-synthetic creature in our midst. Life just gets more exciting, doesn't it?
Venter was also interviewed on Science Friday earlier today, about this work. They don't have the audio up on the archive page for the interview yet, but I suspect they will soon enough, so keep an ear there if you want to hear more about this. And, for the gory details, you probably want to read the actual Science paper as well, right?