Japanese Scientists Cast Light On Origin Of Life By Forming Self - Replicating Cells

Japanese scientists cast light on origin of life by forming self-replicating cellsA team of Japanese scientists has inched closer to figuring out how the first cells emerged from the primordial soup that gave birth to life eons ago.
The group artificially reproduced cells from simple molecules and then had the basic biological units replicate themselves repeatedly.

The team was led by Tadashi Sugawara, a professor of organic physical chemistry at Kanagawa University, and the study was published online by the British scientific journal Nature Communications on Sept. 29.

The scientists had initially been researching ways to artificially reproduce cells using DNA strands and artificial cell membranes. They at first succeeded in having the cell-like structure replicate itself through mitosis, but not repeatedly.

But further study led to the major breakthrough with the scientists succeeding in having artificial cells reach maturity on their own by obtaining nutrients from the environment, with the structures then repeatedly multiplying themselves in a sustained cycle. DNA strands were observed multiplying inside the cells in a process similar to those seen in actual organisms.

According to the team, if the artificial cells go through mutations, the study could be proposed as a model for cellular evolution.

"The research suggests the possibility of proto-organisms being formed from nonorganisms without artificial intervention," Sugawara said. "Cell-like structures could have been formed in the ancient ocean with highly nutritious sea water flowing inside fatty acids or other molecules that would form cell membranes."