What makes life work

Life as we know it displays a high degree of organization. All living things look different only on the outside but inside, all of them have the same molecules and systems. The fundamental chemicals of life consist of fats (lipid), proteins (amino acid), DNA/RNA (sugar) and water. This is universal. Basically, Lipid plays a role of the membrane, protein as the building blocks and DNA/RNA as the genetic materials. Amino acids are the monomers of proteins. Interestingly life only utilizes 20 amino acid to form proteins (we call them proteinous amino acids). When amino acid joins each other they become a poly-peptide by forming a peptide bond. Proteins are a combination of large polypeptide. Now when it comes to genetic materials, we have our DNA and RNA which are made up by nucleic acids. Both of them consist of a ribose sugar, a phosphate group and bases. The bases are important since it is used in transcription and translation. Both these processes are fundamental in the building of life. I suggest you take a look at the video below. Every hormones and enzymes which came into existence in your body are through this way. its mechanism is simply amazing (and this happens from the simplest of cells to the biggest whale in the world!!).

When you put all the ingredients together you get life. NO. all this molecules will simply flow aimlessly unless you put them in a cell. This increases the concentration and separates the molecules from the outside world. But then again this is still an impossible feat in synthetic biology. However this does not stop scientist from trying to get this to work. The video below is simply an example on how to make “life” from raw materials and make them “function”.

Generally, origin of life studies are categorized in either being a ‘bottom-up’ strategy or a ‘top-down’ strategy. A bottom up strategy involves using basic chemical mentioned above and putting them to certain feasible environmental stress and see what they do (like the video above). On the other hand the top-down methods, looks at modern biology and uses information from there to extrapolate towards the simplest living entities. Hopefully by using both approaches we can find a mutual meeting point.  But this is going to take time, lots of time.

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