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Pages 555-556
First published 30 July 2014

A novel in vitro metabolic scheme for the construction of a minimal biological cell

Filippo Caschera and Vincent Noireaux

Abstract (Excerpt)

The bottom-up synthesis of a minimal biological cell is achieved by integrating and connecting three fundamental modules: metabolism, information and self-organization (Noireaux et al., 2011). The execution and connection of these three parts into cell-sized liposomes should generate a system capable of self-reproduction and ultimately evolution. Each of these molecular sub systems is the result of a forward engineering process where bio-parts, e.g. sugars, proteins, phospholipids and nucleotides are interlocked in a functional way (Mann 2008). The creation of a minimal biological cell is certainly one of the most challenging goals of the synthetic biology community (Porcar et al., 2011). The objective of this research area is to elucidate the fundamental design principles found in biology and to understand cellular functions by applying a reductionist approach (Elowitz, 2010). This work also promotes the development of new technologies based on life's principles (Bedau et al. 2010).