JCV-syn3.0 is a new, 473 genes, organism developed by genetic manipulations as part of the Minimal Genome Project. JCV-syn3.0 is less complex than the 525 genes Mycoplasma genitalium – the least complex natural organism known.
Contrary to some inflated claims to “synthetic life” and “created life”, the team has not created life out of non-living components (abiogenesis). The experiment is just a very sophisticated version of breeding – a process that humans have used for thousands of years to develop useful organisms.
At this time, researchers cannot understand the role of 149 of the 473 genes that seem “non-essential” yet without which the organism is not viable. The understanding of life is closer, but still far, far away.