Scientists Create Nearly-Living Crystals

Meet your new pets, via Wired:

Three billion years after inanimate chemistry first became animate life, a newly synthesized laboratory compound is behaving in uncannily lifelike ways. The particles aren’t truly alive — but they’re not far off, either. Exposed to light and fed by chemicals, they form crystals that move, break apart and form again.

“There is a blurry frontier between active and alive,” said biophysicist Jérémie Palacci of New York University. “That is exactly the kind of question that such works raise.” Palacci and fellow NYU physicist Paul Chaikin led a group of researchers in developing the particles, which are described Jan. 31 in Science as forming “living crystals” in the right chemical conditions.

Some scientists think that life’s building blocks once existed in such a form, bouncing back and forth for millions of years until coalescing in configurations that possessed the ability to copy themselves.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1262704226 Vance Powell

    Here’s the original article (since I don’t see a link here): http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/01/30/science.1230020.full

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1262704226 Vance Powell

    Here’s the original article (since I don’t see a link here): http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/01/30/science.1230020.full

  • BuzzCoastin

    if everything alive is energy
    and everything is energy
    and therefore everything is connected
    everything is alive
    the question is
    what kind of weapon will they make from this?

    • Calypso_1

      Weapon?

      Didn’t you hear that BigCancer won the bid for initial development rights at the evil industry auction.

  • wcarver

    This is cool and important, particularly, in the area of bio-genesis (not the frogs generating from mud idea).

    How we define life may have to be revised, which would change the way we judge planets as much different from the “life as we know it” meme.

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