Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have managed to create a synthetic system which mimics biochemical cells.
Prof. Gonen Ashkenasy, of BGU’s Department of Chemistry, and his team managed to develop the system, which can recreate the equilibrium state of biochemical cells; meaning a cell of out equilibrium would receive food and energy and release waste.
A live cell has the raw materials that would allow it to maintain the cell life-cycle and replicate within the cell at all times, which means there is no need for added materials from the outside, but rather only an energy source. Ashkenasy’s breakthrough is capable of self-replicating.
“Ashkenasy’s synthetic system demonstrates that only when kept far from equilibrium can the synthetic system present features of biochemical cells,” according to a BGU press release.
This discovery may have a significant effect on our understanding of the origin and early evolution of life. It would allow the development of biodegradable, zero-waste electronic parts, such as conductors and diodes, because they can be broken down to their natural components at the end of their lifespan.
These synthetic cells could also be programmed to seek out certain materials that could also make a difference for medicine. Thousands of cells may therein be able to pinpoint an exact location, perhaps in the blood.
BGU was ranked 15th in this year’s Nature Index of Young Universities, which ranks any university 50 years old or younger in the natural sciences.