How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions not only occupy the minds of scientists interested in the origin of life, but also researchers working with technology of the future.
If we can create artificial living systems, we may not only understand the origin of life - we can also revolutionize the future of technology.
Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. The oldest ancestor of life on Earth was a protocell, and when we see, what it eventually managed to evolve into, we understand why science is so fascinated with protocells. If science can create an artificial protocell, we get a very basic ingredient for creating more advanced artificial life.
However, creating an artificial protocell is far from simple, and so far no one has managed to do that. One of the challenges is to create the information strings that can be inherited by cell offspring, including protocells. Such information strings are like modern DNA or RNA strings, and they are needed to control cell metabolism and provide the cell with instructions about how to divide.
Essential for life
If one daughter cell after a division has a slightly altered information (maybe it provides a slightly faster metabolism), they may be more fit to survive. Therefor it may be selected and an evolution has started.
Now researchers from the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLINT), Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark, describe in the journal Europhysics Letters, how they, in a virtual computer experiment, have discovered information strings with peculiar properties.To read more, click here.