Each computer starts with a search image (dragon, unicorn, gryphon, etc), and the genome of the real animal most closely resembling it (a lizard for the dragon, a horse for the unicorn and, most taxingly, the spliced genomes of a lion and an eagle for the gryphon). The virtual genomes of these real animals are then tweaked by random electronic mutations. When they have matured, the virtual adults most closely resembling the targets are picked and cross-bred, while the others are culled.
Using this rapid evolutionary process, GeneDupe’s scientists have arrived at genomes for a range of mythological creaturesâ€”in a computer, at least. The next stage, on which they are just embarking, is to do it for real.
via The Economist