Gene-less cell division: How Cool is That?

Can life begin ex nihilo (from nothing)? That is the question that scientists and theologians have been asking for centuries. A new study out of the University of Penn State University suggests that the success of early life forms may have indeed begun from from non-living matter.

Christine Keating, an associate professor of chemistry at Penn State University, and Meghan Andes-Koback, a graduate student in the Penn State Department of Chemistry, generated simple, non-living model “cells” with which they established that asymmetric division — the process by which a cell splits to become two distinct daughter cells — is possible even in the absence of complex cellular components, such as genes.

The new modeling techniques seems to suggests that simple chemical and physical interactions within cells — such as self-assembly, phase separation, and partitioning — can result in seemingly complex behaviors – like asymmetric division — even when no additional cellular machinery is present.

Furthermore, the fact that the rudimentary process of cell division, (excluding cell differentiation and a myriad of cell functions), can occur in the absence of genetic material and other cellular machinery, provides evidence that the mysterious process of abiogenesis — the formation of life from non-living matter — is indeed a scientific possibility.

To read more click New Technique Sheds Light on the Mysterious Process of Cell Division

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