[Funded by the Origins Center]
Self-replicating chemical systems played a central role in the formation of life. In this project we mainly compare small self-replicating systems such as viruses and bacteria with synthetic chemical replicators. Self-replicating chemical systems have played a central role in the creation of life.
Using computer models, we compare different chemical systems that can replicate themselves, but which are different from those present in living cells.
We also look at how easily they adapt to changes in their environment. With these insights we can better understand which chemical systems were involved in the transition to first life.
This research is synonymous to work on synthetic life based on alternative building blocks to those we know from living cells. By making synthetic cells with alternative building blocks, researchers strive to gain better insight into the fundamental principles that facilitated the transition from a chemical self-replicating system to the first cell.
The project is carried out within the research groups of Sijbren Otto, Franjo Weissing and Sander van Doorn, all at the University of Groningen. Principal investigator is Omer Markovitch.