• A robot was used to deposit populations of droplets of the same composition, then ranked these populations in order of how closely they fit the criteria of behaviour identified by the researchers. The chemical composition of the ‘fittest’ population was then carried over into a second generation of droplets, and the process of robotic selection was begun again.
  • Over the course of 20 repetitions of the process, the researchers found that the droplets became more stable, mimicking the natural selection of evolution.
  • The project is the latest of the Cronin Group’s efforts to explore evolution outside organic biology. Other projects have included the development of inorganic chemical cells known as iCHELLs, which are built from molecules of metal and exhibit some of the same abilities as living cells.

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