The research is progressing rapidly on the creation of artificial life forms with the properties of biological life, including replication and the ability to eat.
At the XV International Conference on the origin of life, held in Florence on 24/29 August 2008, a team led by Dr. Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School, presented the prototype with proto cellules the equivalent of genetic information allowing them to reproduce. These include fatty acid molecules that can bind with pieces of nucleic acids containing the source code for replication. to capture solar energy or use energy from chemical reactions, they can form a self-replicator self-evolving, not look at the current earthly life, could simulate the forms of earthly life in its infancy, or that it could exist on other planets.
The model shown in Florence is still not fully autonomous, but represents the form of artificial life using chemical compounds the most comprehensive to date. However, we must go further and reconstruct the conditions of primitive Darwinian evolution by creating the selective forces applied to a large number of sequences able to arbitrarily change on the way of random mutations. This process once started will be particularly interesting because researchers can not by definition predict a priori forms which will lead.x This will create a new form of life that humans have ever seen and that has perhaps never existed (except on other planets?).
consider that proto cellules achieved represent a form of artificial life more complete than so-called synthetic biology studied by Craig Venter. coli with the smallest number of genes consistent with replication. But the product of this research will not be a new form of life, unlike proto cellules Jack Szostak. Or cell biological mechanisms have developed during millions of years of evolution, which are small factories or real nanomachines to enslave the energy to make copies of themselves. It is already very sophisticated systems with a very complex molecular machinery, it is not possible to synthesize from chemical compounds.
The protocellules Jack Szostak are well ahead of such achievements. They place themselves at what could be the true origin of life on earth, or a way of life has never existed on Earth and possibly appear in planets with a different physical and chemical Possibly devoid of liquid water.
The team hopes to have a laboratory system auto-replication full in the near future. We follow with keen interest what will happen with this project. Perhaps is there at the beginning of a revolution in the life sciences. Since the early experiments of Stanley Miller, as is known, scientists and philosophers have always hoped in vain to revive the early start of it. The model of Szostak has no such ambition. It does not necessarily tell us how life is actually appeared on Earth. It only show how it might appear, even evolve very differently. It would, we believe, more interesting, especially for exobiology.
Forms of rudimentary selection existing on Earth before the emergence of life
Selection of rudimentary forms existed on Earth before the emergence of life: this particular announce article new scientist describing the work of Martin Nowak and Hisashi Ohtsuki, biologists, mathematicians at Harvard. They used simple equations to model the growth of complex chains of prebiotic molecules, nucleic acids and proteins .
The model shows that as long chains necessary for life require more chemical reactions that channels short, they are less frequent than the latter. And if the assembly reactions are faster than others, channels resulting from these quick reactions will be more abundant.
The periodic environment is under these conditions a laboratory where there are dynamic revolutionaries. It has diversity and information that can generate a chemical complex. It is therefore an environment conducive to the emergence of molecules capable of promoting copies of itself. The first replicator that reproduces faster and with more precision and managed to prevail then pre-empted all the resources.
It alleges that this model does not give many ways to simulate such a replicator under real conditions. The Grail of research in this area is not only to produce mathematical models of the emergence of life. It is to produce a real chemical, which is to say that it would be similar to the first forms of life, and have the same characteristics.