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[MNN] Scientist creates lifelike cells out of metal

post #1 of 27
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Quote:
Scientists trying to create artificial life generally work under the assumption that life must be carbon-based, but what if a living thing could be made from another element?

One British researcher may have proven that theory, potentially rewriting the book of life. Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow has created lifelike cells from metal — a feat few believed feasible.

Source



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post #2 of 27
Could this help with the development of Nanobots? (Nanocells?)
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post #3 of 27
I smell transformers coming...
post #4 of 27
"And she reached out and grabbed his metallic extension.. Did I mention he was a robot? Yeah that's kinda important.."

Don't know why, but this was my first thought. Muheheh.
    
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post #5 of 27
self repairing circuits, super smart computers, self aware computers... now life like cells out of metal....


T-1000.jpg
post #6 of 27
Another source
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post #7 of 27
Well of course cells can be based on another element, we are water carbon bases because that is the abundant substance on earth. But say on another planet, methane and carbon could be the cell structure because those elements are available and stable.

Well this discovery kinda freaks me out, Well, this scientist just created our doom, he has made a metal organism that lives by photosynthesis, so all it needs is light and water to produce energy to survive. He also hints that it has the ability to grow, replicate and self evolve.

Can anyone say liquid metal terminators?
Edited by Maelthras - 1/6/12 at 8:48am
post #8 of 27
Well one of the defining characteristics of life is the ability to replicate and pass on information to future generations (ie evolve).

Unfortunately I'm not sure Cronin (author of the study) has a viable solution for that problem.

The reason why life on earth is carbon based is because carbon is capable of creating 4 bonds, a very important distinction that allows it to form complex molecules and chains(like DNA and RNA) which are essential to life. Elements with fewer valence electrons (ie can make fewer than 4 bonds) typically are only capable of forming crystals and not complex molecules.

The generally considered alternative to carbon life is silicon, which also can make 4 bonds. However it also tends to prefer crystal lattices rather than chains. It's also a much heavier elements and harder to utilize in reactions.

The main reason most scientists consider these two as the only likely is that complex molecules and chains are considered essential for life as you can't really contain information in a crystal structure (you can easily make walls and bubbles though, which is what Cronin did).

To date, no one has figured out a way to create complex molecules using elements without 4 valence electrons, or figured out a way to contain information in non-complex molecules. Doesn't mean it's impossible, but nothing we know suggests it's possible.
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post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Not A Good Idea View Post

self repairing circuits, super smart computers, self aware computers... now life like cells out of metal....
T-1000.jpg

I always find myself wondering, where did I see this where did I hear that... in 20 years old movies, YEAH! Anyone else noticed? rolleyes.gif Movie producers and writes must be capable to see the future. biggrin.gif or producers and writers are all scientists and these researches existed 20 years ago made the movies to put and end to the rumours and now its official, nobody cares. lol
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post #10 of 27
It doesn't really seem that he has actually created anything that is really living. All of the examples in the article make it sound more like he has created metal cells that mimic living cells. From how it's described in the article it sounds like he has really only made really small models of a living cell.

Just because the iCHELLs he made do mimic some functions that real living cells can preform, but that doesn't make them living.
Edited by AtomicFrost - 1/6/12 at 9:23am
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