Previously, chemists have managed to create artificial cell walls and developed synthetic DNA to produce self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cells. Now, for the first time, researchers have used polymers to produce an artificial eukaryotic cell capable of undertaking multiple chemical reactions through working organelles.
Eukaryotic cells are the building blocks for complex life-forms like plants and animals. The main distinction between the simpler and more ancient prokaryotic cells and eukaryotes is the presence of organelles in the latter. Organelles are specialized subunits within a cell that have a specific function, and which allow cells to undertake multiple chemical processes in an extremely small space.
This compartmentalization was one of the key features developed by nature during the early evolution of early life on Earth. It is also of interest to chemists as eukaryotic cells are capable of efficient chemistry at a very small scale, something which is difficult to replicate in the lab. That might be all about to change now chemists at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands have built the world's first eukaryotic cell using plastic.
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