The creation of the synthetic cell is part of an effort to design a "minimal cell" containing only the most basic genome required for life.
Biology, an emerging engineering discipline to program cell behaviors as easily as we program computers. Synthetic biology will improve our quantitative understanding of natural biological processes and will also have biotechnology applications in areas such as biosensing, synthesis of pharmaceutical products, molecular fabrication of biomaterials and nanostructures, and tissue engineering.
The ability to make artificial cells is a scientific milestone of immense proportions. Achieving it would mark a profound understanding of the biochemical systems that embody life, and it would also provide a fast track toward a series of fundamental scientific insights.