US Mountain Time
Juan Perez-Mercader (Harvard University; SFI)

Our campus is closed to the public for this event.

... en route to artificial proto-life …

Abstract:  Living systems on Earth are broadly characterized as complex chemical systems capable of simultaneously (i) processing information, (ii) metabolizing (including making their own arts from simpler components), (iii) self-reproducing and (iv) evolving. We present experimental (wet chemistry) results demonstrating the autonomous 1-pot chemical synthesis from a homogeneous by-design non-biochemical mixture of self- organized and self-assembled micron and submicron-sized vesicles exhibiting several emergent, life-like properties. These properties include periodic growth and partial collapse, autonomous vesicle replication and phototaxis as “individuals”, together with signs of homeostasis and competition at the population level. We use photo PISA\ (Polymerization Induced Self-Assembly), or radical driven PISA using non-biochemical oscillator reactions in a 1-pot chemical reactor. Taken together these results offer insights into artificial biology, as well as into prebiotic membrane and vesicle formation en route to proto-life and the first living systems on the early Earth.

Research Collaboration
SFI Host: 
Chris Kempes

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