When will we be able to create life?

Robski robert9 at bigfoot.com
Tue Mar 2 20:05:00 EST 1999

Can we create life in a test-tube yet (from strictly non-living
ingredients)? I as a layman would guess 'no' but it would be
interesting to take a poll on what the general population believes the
answer to that question to be.

I remember back in 7th grade, my science teacher mixed together in a
beaker all of the chemicals that make up a cell, then asked the class
if he had created life. Actually, he had mixed something that foamed
up and overflowed the beaker just to make a point, but I still
remember it to this day. His point, of course was, that even if we
know every molecule that makes up a cell, can we take the next step
and create life.

I don't want to get hung up on a definition of life here, lets keep it
simple and say respiration and reproduction are N & S conditions. My
questions are then:

Even if we know every molecule that makes up a simple cell or virus,
how far are we from being able to duplicate its internal STRUCTURES?

Even if we did succeed in duplicating not only the compositon but the
structures as well, would we have created life? IOW, would the
resultant 'thing' be able to respire and reproduce or would it need
some additional 'spark' to get it going?

Expert testimony and informed opinion both welcomed! 


PS, when replying, please remove cross-posts so I know what group
you're in. Thanks.

More information about the Microbio mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net