Now steps taken in labs to create ‘inorganic life’

September 18th, 2011 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 18 (IANS) Scientists have taken tentative steps towards creating ‘life’ from inorganic chemicals, which may later become ‘inorganic biology’.

Lee Cronin, who teaches chemistry at the College of Science and Engineering, University of Glasgow, UK, and his team have demonstrated a new way of making inorganic-chemical-cells or iCHELLs.

The research is part of a project by Cronin to demonstrate that inorganic chemical compounds are capable of self-replicating and evolving — just as organic, biological carbon-based cells do, the journal Angewandte Chemie reports.

Cronin said: “All life on earth is based on organic biology (carbon in the form of amino acids, nucleotides and sugars) but the inorganic world is considered to be inanimate,” according to a university statement.

“What we are trying to do is create self-replicating, evolving inorganic cells that would essentially be alive. You could call it inorganic biology,” he added.

Researchers said the cells, which can also store electricity, could potentially be used in all sorts of applications in medicine, as sensors or to confine chemical reactions.

“Bacteria are essentially single-cell micro-organisms made from organic chemicals, so why can’t we make micro-organisms from inorganic chemicals and allow them to evolve?” Cronin asked.

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