According to a report from The Guardian, the scientists working at the J Craig Venter Institute have created an artificial chromosome, using genes from Mycoplasma genitalium, which they plan to inject into a M. genitalium cell that has had its chromosome removed. They believe that this will create the first artificially engineered life form, which they will call Mycoplasma laboritorium.
If it is successful, this will be a historic event, which has potential to be applied in a variety of ways, some constructive, some destructive. The direction of future research and those who use the products of it will determine whether this is something that people look at as a great step forward for humanity or the start of something awful.
In the meantime, The Guardian has another story focusing on J Craig Venter, who along with Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith is heading up this effort.