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Mol Syst Biol. 2006;2:45. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Towards synthesis of a minimal cell.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. a.forster@vanderbilt.edu

Abstract

Construction of a chemical system capable of replication and evolution, fed only by small molecule nutrients, is now conceivable. This could be achieved by stepwise integration of decades of work on the reconstitution of DNA, RNA and protein syntheses from pure components. Such a minimal cell project would initially define the components sufficient for each subsystem, allow detailed kinetic analyses and lead to improved in vitro methods for synthesis of biopolymers, therapeutics and biosensors. Completion would yield a functionally and structurally understood self-replicating biosystem. Safety concerns for synthetic life will be alleviated by extreme dependence on elaborate laboratory reagents and conditions for viability. Our proposed minimal genome is 113 kbp long and contains 151 genes. We detail building blocks already in place and major hurdles to overcome for completion.

PMID:
16924266
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1681520
Free PMC Article
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