The research group of Professor Tadashi Sugawara of Kanagawa University (also serving as a visiting fellow at Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute) has been the first in the world to construct artificial cells that undergo cell division for generations.We approach the question of how life was born with a chemical approach.
In previous research by Professor Sugawara et al., We have succeeded in constructing artificial cells by combining chemically produced molecular membranes and DNA.By taking in the material of the membrane from the outside, these cells were able to form a new membrane and grow and divide.Furthermore, it is possible to increase the internal DNA, which means that a part of life activity is reproduced in a pseudo manner.However, once it divides, the substances necessary for DNA replication are depleted inside the cell, so there is a problem that further cell division cannot be performed.
In this research, we succeeded in developing a method to ingest the raw materials necessary for DNA replication from the outside.This restores the ability of DNA to replicate inside the cell after division, allowing it to repeat division for generations.Furthermore, it was confirmed that there is a cell cycle similar to the cells of real organisms, such as the period of ingesting the raw materials necessary for division, the period of replicating the substances necessary for cells using these, and the period of actual division. I was able to do.
What kind of process did you take from just a substance to the birth of life?It is predicted that something like the cell cycle already existed on the primitive Earth, like the model cells constructed this time.In the future, there are growing expectations that mutants with excellent traits will emerge, that is, evolve, during repeated cell division.The day may come when the pseudo-organisms created from the chemical approach will evolve to the point where they can be called "artificial organisms."