April 13, 2024

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Scientists have just come one step closer to creating artificial life in the laboratory

Scientists have just come one step closer to creating artificial life in the laboratory

a Controversial theory It posits that life began when RNA began to replicate itself spontaneously – and now researchers claim to have replicated part of this process in the laboratory.

in Interviews with Washington PostScientists say they have created an RNA molecule that makes copies of other types of RNA, bringing their experts closer to creating the conditions for early life on Earth in the laboratory.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies worked on the theory that before there was DNA or proteins, ribonucleic acid (RNA) existed as a primary component of what is called “Primal soup“.

As part of their research, And Abu According to reports, they created a laboratory-synthesized RNA molecule that precisely copied other molecules and resulted in a functioning enzyme. Now that it has done so, the institute is poised to study the early evolutionary stages of life in unprecedented ways.

Gerald Joyce, president of Salk who co-authored A New paper About research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesTell And Abu Although the molecule the researchers made in the lab has not yet self-replicated, the molecule they created represents a big step toward creating life in the lab.

If RNA is created then He is Salk's president said he could replicate himself, “and then he would be alive.”

“This is the path to how life could arise in the laboratory, or in principle, anywhere in the universe,” Joyce said.

like And Abu He explains that RNA must make copies very close to the original for Darwinian evolution to occur. If anything goes wrong, things start to go downhill quickly, like an old, wonky camera — or, in the meme world, “Extreme fear“The image that comes from taking a screenshot of endless advertising – each subsequent version becomes more obscure until it becomes unclear what the original source material was in the first place.

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“If the error rate is too high, you won't be able to sustain [genetic] “Information,” the Salik chief explained. “It just explodes.”

However, precise RNA transcription also does not work because it does not provide the types of mutations that promote growth. To get just the right amount of twist, Joyce and his team made RNA that makes copies of what's known as “hammer RNA,” which cuts molecules. When the replication molecule does its work on the hammerhead RNA, each new generation, e.g And Abu Reports, it was also capable of slicing, and each subsequent generation got better at iteration as well.

This new threshold is, in the words of pharmaceutical sciences professor John Chabot of the University of California, Irvine, “enormous.”

“At first, I looked at it as a bit startling,” Chabot, who was not involved in the research, told the newspaper. “It's very elegant.”

It's exciting research – though, if Salk or his fellow travelers pull it off Create artificial life In the laboratory, it is sure to raise Urgent new ethical questions About artificial life forms.

More about life: Scientists are verifying the ability of a space telescope to detect life on Earth