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Trends Biotechnol. 2002 Mar;20(3):123-8.

Artificial cells: prospects for biotechnology.

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Exobiology Branch, NASA-Ames Research Center, MS 239-4, 94035, Moffett Field, CA, USA.


A variety of techniques can now be used to alter the genome of a cell. Although these techniques are very powerful, they have limitations related to cost and efficiency of scale. Artificial cells designed for specific applications combine properties of biological systems such as nanoscale efficiency, self-organization and adaptability at relatively low cost. Individual components needed for such structures have already been developed, and now the main challenge is to integrate them in functional microscopic compartments. It will then become possible to design and construct communities of artificial cells that can perform different tasks related to therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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