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‘Protocells’ show ability to reproduce

Artificial blobs could provide clues to early evolution

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11:08am, September 29, 2015
protocells

CELL MIMIC   Protocells — lab-made spheres of genetic material and membrane — can mimic the reproduction of early cells. When provided with necessary chemicals, a protocell — itself produced by a round of division — can split itself in two in 8.5 minutes. 

Man-made balls of genetic material and membranes can pull off a decent impression of primitive cells. 

These squishy spheres known as “protocells” can accept chemical deliveries to sustain a division process that mimics that of living cells, researchers in Japan report September 29 in Nature Communications. These cell-like creations may be a step toward making future protocells that can imitate evolution, the scientists say.

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