Scientists make first step towards bringing life to inorganic matter. New artificial forms of life.
Just like biological cells, the cells created by Professor Lee Cronin allow several chemical processes to be isolated within them.
They can be compartmentalized by creating internal membranes that control the passage of materials and energy through them.
They can store electricity, be could potentially be used in all sorts of applications, such as sensors or to confine chemical reactions.
However, the ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate that inorganic chemical compounds are capable of self-replicating and evolving, just like organic, biological carbon-based cells.
Prof Cronin says the current theory of evolution is really a special theory of evolution because it only applies only to organic biology.
He says that if he and his team are successful in creating life from inorganic matter, it could lead to a general theory of evolution.