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Molecular assemblies question

  1. Oct 8, 2005 #1
    i have been reading articles on molecular assemblies and dna design.

    my question is: if we take one simple living cell, and using molecular assembly we can create exactly the same copy of that cell (precisely to the atomic level), then will the cell be alive?:bugeye:

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2005 #2
    Yes. But that's a very big 'if' you've stated.

    We can make completely synthetic catalytic RNA's. this is a step towards making synthetic life. Craig Venter is (I believe) working on a project to create something like a synthetic bacterium. I am not sure how much of his project involves (artificial) molecular assembly.
  4. Oct 8, 2005 #3


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    Well, how many people are like me and reading this before getting to the "thanks" part says to themselves, "why hell yes!". I don't know. Maybe it's just me.:smile:

    Perhaps I should qualify: I'm a biologist interested in chemistry but I'm really a Chemist interested in biology. Go figure. Anyway, I suppose you'd expect a "bio-chemist" to take such a "mechanical" vision of life like this.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2005
  5. Oct 10, 2005 #4
    i don't think that is at all unreasonable. a chemist realizes that there is no difference between buying Advil or the generically-labelled bottle of "Ibuprofen".

    what is life, if not sophisticated mechanics? this, in my opinion, has been on of the greatest contributions of biochemistry - linking structure with function. There has been already been a great deal known about the macroscopic functions of life, but with the advent of radiolabeling, x-ray crystallography, etc. we can determine what is going on at the nano length scale.

    examples: the proteosome, ATP synthase, DNA polymerase. Are these not beautiful machines? it is intriguing to consider the possibilities of what additional types of machinery could be engineering if we understood more about the structure-function relationship than we presently do.
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