DailyDirt: Re-visting Vitalism
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
In the early days of chemistry, organic molecules were thought to require a living source. Then Friedrich Wohler synthesized urea using a process that didn't involve any living organisms. That chemical reaction struck down the hypothesis of vitalism -- which suggested that living matter was fundamentally different from inanimate chemicals. Over a hundred years later, though, no one has really discovered how to create living materials from scratch. Here are just a few projects that could change that.
- Martin Hanczyc gives a TED talk about the difference between life and non-life. Making a chemical "protocell" model might help us understand how life develops from non-living materials. [url]
- Working on metal-based life could lead to the discovery of completely non-organic life. Inorganic chemical reactions could form self-replicating structures with sufficient complexity to begin evolutionary processes. Maybe. [url]
- Re-programming worms to create an unnatural amino acid could be the start of designing artificial lifeforms with unnatural traits. This achievement is just a proof of principle project that could lead to other biological techniques for modifying the genetic expression in all kinds of multicellular animals. [url]
- To discover more interesting biological curiosities, check out what's currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]