German scientists say that for the first time ever, they’ve created a lab-grown artificial genome that can reproduce itself like a natural one.
It’s not quite one of those replicants from “Blade Runner,” but it’s a step toward the holy grail of synthetic biology: fully artificial organisms that can survive and reproduce like the real thing.
In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications this week, researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry describe how they assembled genomes made up of blueprints for proteins — and demonstrated that it was capable of replicating 116 kilobytes worth of its own RNA and DNA.
Next up, according to a press release, the team plans to build an “enveloped system” that can reproduce like this last one — but also consume nutrition and dispose of waste, like a living cell.
READ MORE: Reproductive genome from the laboratory [Max Planck Society]
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