In a 2005 paper in Trends in Biotechnology, David Deamer presented 12 requirements to creating a protocell capitulates life. Then have ben accomplished in different labs and in different ways. Because researchers have used RNA as both a macromolecular catalyst and as an information store, some of the boundaries between objectives become blurred. That's one of the reasons that Deamer says once the 11th requirement is met and macromolecular catalysts are reproduced in the protocell during growth, the final hurdle, in which duplicating genetic information is passed between generations, will already have been achieved.

<figcaption> Credit: Illustration by Scott Bodell</figcaption>
Credit: Illustration by Scott Bodell


In 1965 Alec Bangham and colleagues at the Agricultural Research Council Institute of Animal Physiology in Cambridge, England, describe research showing that amphiphilic molecules can self-assemble into microscopic sacs sharing some properties of cell membranes.1


Efraim Racker and Walther Stoeckenius of...

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