US researchers have claimed that artificial life could be created "within five years."
Across the world laboratories are closing in on a "second genesis" - a breakthrough that would be one of the greatest scientific advancements of all time.
According to Prof David Deamer, from California University, although making a new lifeform from scratch is a tough task he's confident it can happen in five to 10 years.
"The momentum is building - we're knocking at the door," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
A synthetic, made-to-order living system could produce everything from new drugs to biofuels and greenhouse gas absorbers.
The controversial research's opponents claim the technology could lead to machines becoming "almost human".
But there would be no safety issues for a long time as any initial organisms would be very primitive and need large-scale life support in the lab, reports New Scientist.
The breakthrough offers hope that they could create an entire cell.
According to Dr Anthony Forster, of Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, who is also creating a synthetic living cell in a test tube with Prof Church, "until you actually try this you won't know".
"Having said that we know cells can do it so we should be able to do it sooner or later," he added.