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SCIENCE TO THE LIMIT OF POSSIBLE


transhumanismo@sapo.pt

Transhumanism = Scientific current trying to improve Man's Intelligence, and Happiness.
Terça-feira, 5 de Janeiro de 2010
CHEMICAL ARTIFICIAL LIFE

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

We already approached Informatics Artificial “Life”, that is, produced with computational elements; and reported the theoretical possibility of making systems of replicating, or self-replicating, molecular robots, aggregating in organisms, and evolving; later we spoke about Synthetic “Life”, that one is intending to produce from preexisting living elements, and which is a potential remedy for Illness and Global Warming.

 

We will speak now about Chemical Artificial “Life” that some researchers intend to come to produce from chemical elements, not living ones, in test tube or laboratory dishes.

 

The Cells resemble to robots whose pack is the “membrane”, the electronics the “cytoplasm”, the operative system the “genome” (set of genes); and an active part the “ribosome”.

The genetic information circulates from the genome to the ribosome (1), where the proteins are produced, proteins that have a key role in all the life forms.

 

We are going to partially reproduce an article of the journalist of Reuters Maggie Fox (2).

 

“American Scientists made one ribosome. The Professor of Genetics of the Harvard Medical School, Church, said the following: ‘If we want to make synthetic life similar to current life, we will have to make this kind of biological machine (ribosome).'. Church and Mike Jewett (3) already synthesized “luciferase”, the material of the incandescence.”.

 

According to (4), the fact of having produced one synthetic ribosome offers the hope that the same team can come to create an entire cell; something that Church waits that comes to be a relatively lesser challenge. He said: ‘There’s no reason to wait that it will run badly…'. A synthetic system ‘in vivo' could produce everything from medicines to biological fuels and absorbent substances of the greenhouse gases. Chemical Artificial “Life”

 

Let us see what Seth Borenstein of Associated Press (5) in 2007 said: “For the whole world, an amount of experts is trying to create ‘life’ from zero, and is closer to this objective. The experts wait an announcement in the next 10 years from the part of someone of the ‘in vitro’ artificial ‘life’ (6); in a general way, such type of artificial ‘life’ involves experiences with chemical substrata of water or another solvent. The Scientists do not have a rigorous, standard definition, of what ‘life’ is. However, the biologists have some basic ideas on the characteristics that Artificial ‘Life’ needs to possess:

 

1. It needs to have ADN or genetic code;

 

2. It needs to be able to multiply and to transmit the genetic code; and necessarily some place where to place it. Of something that can be a protector pack or a membrane, similar to the wall of a cell, that keeps together the ADN and the other parts;

 

3. The wall of the cell will have equally to allow that normal biological processes are fulfilled; that is, it needs to be enough permeable to allow the absorption of the nutrients, and relatively impermeable against the pathogenic microbes;

 

4. The organism must be self-sustainable: It must eat and metabolize foods.

 

5. Finally, the live form has to have the capacity of self-repairing, adapting and evolving.

 

To develop some of these characteristics presents many challenges to the researchers. To keep an artificial organism alive during more than some minutes, or some hours, is equally a challenge, in a way that the scientists can center themselves in the reinforcement of the organisms after some of the initial obstacles were surpassed…”

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal

 

References

(1) Wikipedia

(2) “Engineered cell engine is step to artificial life”; Reuters; Maggie Fox; March 9, 2009 http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE52806E20090309

(3) From Harvard Medical School

(4) “Artificial life could be created within five years

Http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/4974917/artificial-life-could-be-created-within-five-years.html

(5) “Artificial life likely in 3-5 years?”; Seth Borenstein; Associated Press; 20, August, 2007   

(6) Da Wikipedia: “in vitro” is something not made in a live organism but in a controlled environment, for instance in a test tube.


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