Complex synthetic cells bring scientists closer to artificial cellular life

Listen to the latest science news, brought to you by Shamini Bundell and Nick Petrić Howe.

In this episode:

00:46 Synthetic cells made from bacterial bits

For years researchers have been interested in creating artificial cells, as they could be useful for manufacturing compounds and understanding how life works. Now a new method shows how this can be accomplished using polymer droplets that integrate components of burst bacteria. The synthesised cells are able to perform translation and transcription and have several features that resemble real cells, like a proto-nucleus and a cytoskeleton.

Research article: Xu et al.

News and Views: Life brought to artificial cells

09:33 Research Highlights

A mysterious ancient creature identified from its vomit, and the combination of immunity, diet and bacteria that could protect from metabolic disorders.

Research Highlight: The Jurassic vomit that stood the test of time

Research Highlight: A sugary diet wrecks gut microbes — and their anti-obesity efforts

11:42 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, research on the safety of three-person embryos, and the gene that gave our ancestors an edge over neanderthals.

Nature News: Embryos with DNA from three people develop normally in first safety study

Nature News: Did this gene give modern human brains their edge?

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