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Issue 7, 2009
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Darwinian chemistry: towards the synthesis of a simple cell

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Abstract

The total synthesis of a simple cell is in many ways the ultimate challenge in synthetic biology. Outlined eight years ago in a visionary article by Szostak et al. (J. W. Szostak, D. P. Bartel and P. L. Luisi, Nature, 2001, 409, 387), the chances of success seemed remote. However, recent progress in nucleic acid chemistry, directed evolution and membrane biophysics have brought the prospect of a simple synthetic cell with life-like properties such as growth, division, heredity and evolution within reach. Success in this area will not only revolutionize our understanding of abiogenesis but provide a fertile test-bed for models of prebiotic chemistry and early evolution. Last but not least, a robust “living” protocell may provide a versatile and safe chassis for embedding synthetic devices and systems.

Graphical abstract: Darwinian chemistry: towards the synthesis of a simple cell

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Feb 2009, accepted on 27 Mar 2009 and first published on 06 May 2009


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/B904024B
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2009,5, 686-694
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    Darwinian chemistry: towards the synthesis of a simple cell

    D. Loakes and P. Holliger, Mol. BioSyst., 2009, 5, 686
    DOI: 10.1039/B904024B

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