It takes a lot to create something as unimaginably complex as ‘life’. We already know many of the ingredients, but it isn’t yet enough; the exciting biochemical quest is continuing undiminished. TU/e University professor and chemist Bert Meijer takes us on a search for the missing links. The sequel to a breathtaking story that was a big hit at the Lowlands festival a few years ago.
Solving the puzzle of life
“How did life on Earth start?” is probably one of the most intriguing questions for which there’s no scientific answer. More and more puzzles about life are being solved, thanks to the tremendous progress in science and technology. That means the possibilities for making far-reaching changes in life are virtually unlimited.
Progress and understanding in a complex domain
We can clone sheep and culture organs from stem cells, and we can genetically modify cells, plants and bacteria. Synthesizing molecules from simple substances has also reached great heights. As a result we can make large proteins and DNA using synthesizers, and cure a lot of diseases with all kinds of medicines. The more we know, the more complex molecular cell biology proves to be, and the more we become fascinated by the origins of life.
Creating life: it’s still going to take a while
This lecture highlights some of the biggest challenges in our understanding of how life started, and why – in spite of all the research efforts – it will still take a long time before we can make a living cell from its individual components in the laboratory. Bert Meijer looks particularly at the rapidly developing field of building complex supramolecular systems.
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