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Can I make a banana from nothing?

  1. Jan 28, 2015 #1
    Excuse the simplified question title. I have very little knowledge in the world of organic chemistry, and chemistry alone.

    If I looked at the composition of banana (atomically), and then I got a little jar full of every element that is necessary to a banana's composition, could I make a banana?

    I understand the challenges of the energy required to physically manipulate atoms.. but is this theoreticall ypossible? Could I create cells from pure atoms? What would it take to make this possible? Besides the gazillions of years required to do this... How much energy would be required to make the bonds? How could one manipulate the bonds/atoms?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2015 #2

    SteamKing

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    In a nutshell, no you can't create a banana (or anything else that complex) by manipulating a jar of its chemical constituents. That's why bananas are still grown: it's much easier to cultivate and harvest the natural article than to try to do it the mad scientist way. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Jan 28, 2015 #3
    okay well thanks for your response, but instead of saying yes or no, can you clarify why?
     
  5. Jan 28, 2015 #4

    SteamKing

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    Well, for one thing, our current knowledge of science and technology is nowhere near being able to create anything as complex as a single cell using raw chemicals.

    All of the DNA technology and genetic manipulation we currently employ takes place using existing natural cells or organisms. If an agricultural researcher wants to create a new strain of corn, for example, he breeds various existing strains of corn together to select the desirable qualities which the new strain should have. He doesn't mix up a bunch of chemicals in a lab to create a new species of corn.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2015 #5

    Ygggdrasil

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    In theory, we should be able to make a banana from scratch. There is nothing magical about biological materials that makes them different from other chemical systems.

    In practice, as @SteamKing said, we don't know nearly enough about biology to even know how to build the simplest cells from scratch.

    Here's a related discussion in the forums on this topic that you may find useful: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/can-we-create-life-from-scratch.692013/
     
  7. Jan 28, 2015 #6

    Bystander

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    In practice, on top of the problems already described, no one has done a total assay of a banana to even know what has to be made from scratch.
     
  8. Jan 29, 2015 #7

    Borek

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    Which is probably the most important statement in the whole thread :)
     
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