Researchers created genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself, The field of synthetic biology not only observes and describes life processes, but also imitates them.
The main feature of life is the ability to imitate, which means maintaining a chemical system.
In the field of synthetic biology, researchers are researching what are called bottom-up processes, namely the creation of systems to mimic life from lifeless building blocks.
One of the most fundamental properties of all living organisms is the ability to store and reproduce as separate entities.
An artificial bottom-up approach to creating reproducible systems is a major experimental challenge. For the first time, scientists were able to overcome this obstacle and synthesize such a system. Researchers created genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself.
The team is dedicated to mimic genome replication and protein synthesis using a bottom-up approach. Both of these processes are fundamental to self-preservation and reproduction of biological systems.
Researchers have now succeeded in creating an in vitro system in which both processes run simultaneously. “Our system is able to regenerate most of its own molecular components,” the researchers said.
To begin this process, researchers need instructions on construction, as well as various molecular and nutritional “machines”. Biologically translated, this means that builds are DNA that contains information about protein production. Researchers created genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself.
Proteins are often referred to as “molecular machines” because they often act as catalysts that accelerate biochemical reactions in organisms. The main building blocks of DNA are what are called nucleotides. Proteins are made from amino acids.
In particular, the researchers have optimized the in vitro expression system that synthesizes proteins based on DNA design. Because of some improvements, the in vitro expression system can now synthesize a protein known as DNA polymerase very effectively.
This DNA polymerase then replicates DNA using nucleotides. Unlike previous research, our system can read and copy DNA genomes that are relatively long.
Scientists have collected artificial genomes of up to eleven pieces of circular DNA. This modular structure allows them to easily insert or delete certain DNA segments. The largest modular genome reproduced by research researchers consists of more than 116,000 base pairs reaching very simple cell genome lengths. Researchers created genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself.
The artificial genome not only encodes polymerases that are important for DNA replication, but also contains sketches of other proteins, such as. B. 30 translation factors derived from Escherischia coli bacteria. Translation factors are important for the translation of DNA maps into suitable proteins. Therefore, they are very important for self-replication systems that mimic biochemical processes.
To show that the new in vitro expression system can not only reproduce DNA, but can also produce its own translation factor, the researchers used mass spectrometry. With this method of analysis, they determine the amount of protein produced by the system.
Strangely, some translation factors are present after the reaction even in amounts greater than those previously added. According to the researchers, this is an important step towards a continuous self-replication system that mimics biological processes. Researchers developed genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself.
In the future, scientists want to add additional DNA segments to the artificial genome.
Such minimum cells can be used in biotechnology, for example, as a machine developed specifically for the production of natural materials or as a platform for building more complex and more life-like systems.