Life after the synthetic cell

  title={Life after the synthetic cell},
  author={Mark A. Bedau and George M. Church and Steen Rasmussen and Arthur L. Caplan and Steven A. Benner and Martin Fussenegger and Jim Collins and David Deamer},
Nature asked eight synthetic-biology experts about the implications for science and society of the “synthetic cell” made by the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). The institute's team assembled, modified and implanted a synthesized genome into a DNA-free bacterial shell to make a self-replicating Mycoplasma mycoides. 

Constructing protocells: a second origin of life

This paper aims to address the fundamental questions of life and technology by assembling minimal living systems from scratch in a simple and efficient manner.

Synthetic Biology

  • M. PorcarJ. Peretó
  • Biology, Engineering
    SpringerBriefs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • 2014
Journalists have presented many advances in biology in the past century as an attempted synthesis of life, but the fine line which separates the scientific enthusiasm from hype is not new.

Molecular programming with a transcription and translation cell-free toolbox: from elementary gene circuits to phage synthesis.

This dissertation presents a meta-analyses of the determinants of earthquake-triggered landsliding that have an important effect on the size and intensity of the earthquake and their effects on seismic activity.

Are we doing synthetic biology?

The state of the art on synthetic biology is reviewed and it is concluded that most research projects actually describe an extension of metabolic engineering, and the term synthetic biology should be used more sparingly.

Emerging biomedical applications of synthetic biology

The impact and potential of synthetic biology for biomedical applications, including the design of novel strategies for the treatment of cancer, immune diseases and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and gout, are covered.

Synthetic Genomics and the Causal Role of Genes: What has been Shown and Why it Matters

It is argued that a technological understanding of synthetic genomics is partial and that it must be supplemented with a discussion of the notion of artificiality, that depends on the claim that “the DNA software builds its own hardware” and which is the case if and only if the DNA contains the entire genetic repertoire of an organism.

Toward Artificial Cells: Novel Advances in Energy Conversion and Cellular Motility

This review summarizes the development of artificial cells, from a pure giant unilamellar vesicle (GUV) to a controllable, self‐fueled proteoliposome, both of which are highly compartmentalized.

Development of an artificial cell, from self-organization to computation and self-reproduction

The experimental constraints to synthesize the most elementary cell-sized compartment that can self-reproduce using synthetic genetic information are discussed, one of the critical bottlenecks in the synthesis of artificial cell.

The Synthetic Nature of Biology

In this chapter, a brief history of synthetic biology is presented, followed by a description of its most prominent “tribes” and a proposition for categorising the various engineering approaches currently practiced in the field.


Total synthesis and cloning of a gene coding for the ribonuclease S protein.

The gene is designed to have 25 specific restriction endonuclease sites spaced at short intervals, permitting its structure to be rapidly modified, facilitating tests of hypotheses relating the primary structure of the enzyme to its physical and catalytic behavior.