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Reverse Engineer Most Basic Life

Break it into its complex organic molecules, study the absolute minimum forces needed to do so ...
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...then reverse them presumably creating life.

Obviously you can turn life into dead matter in any number of ways, but studying how to move backwards from live and animate to dead and inanimate in incredibly minute steps could perhaps provide some insight into how the reverse process, life from inanimate matter occurred.

These steps would be forces of heat, light, cycles of various chemical interactions basically all the forces that were on prelife Earth.

Break the organism into its complex molecules then reverse the process. Kill it and bring it back to life. The idea would be to just cross the line into death in such a way that it's reversible. By finding the manner of killing the organism that's reversible, perhaps this is the means by which the organic molecules became alive. Once this is determined, take a bunch of the molecules that have never been a part of a living organism, apply this process to them and make synthetic life.

doctorremulac3, Jun 14 2016

Artificial cell https://en.m.wikipe...iki/Artificial_cell
[theircompetitor, Jun 15 2016]

Miller–Urey experiment https://en.wikipedi...0%93Urey_experiment
[Skewed, Jun 15 2016]

The Blob https://www.youtube...watch?v=ZszGKvv6xJg
Same motivations here [bungston, Jun 15 2016]

[link]






       Well, at least it's not in Oth... oh, wait....   

       // Most Basic Life //   

       Baked. The french are, unfortunately, Widely Known To Exist...   

       We encourage the idea of breaking them down into inanimate components - it's the reassembly part we dislike the idea of.
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  

       //By finding the manner of killing the organism that's reversible, perhaps this is the means by which the organic molecules became alive.// This implies that you're looking for some sort of vis viva.   

       //take a bunch of the molecules that have never been a part of a living organism, apply this process to them and make synthetic life.// Being done. The closest so far is Craig <spit> Venter's project, which was to make a synthetic genome and put it into an enucleated ("dead") cell and make it live. But that's cheating.   

       One of my buddies (Phil Holliger - google him) is working on creating self-replicating RNA molecules which will be extremely minimal life when it works.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 15 2016
  

       //One of my buddies (Phil Holliger - google him) is working on creating self-replicating RNA molecules which will be extremely minimal life when it works.//   

       Jesus Christ Max, what the hell are you doing hanging out with us dummies?   

       Could you do me a favor, just for laughs tell him my idea and if he still wants to be friends with you let me know what he said? I think there might be something to this.   

       Pose it as a joke, like "You know that website full of dummies I go to for laughs? Get a load of what this one idiot said..."   

       To simplify, it's about making a map between living cell and the non living pre-cursor molecules that make up that cell by breaking down the cell with various methods, then observing how the transformation takes place to gain insight into how the opposite happens, that is, how those molecules turned into cells. In other words turn cells into un- linked molecules to see how un-linked molecules might turn into cells.   

       Or is that totally stupid?
doctorremulac3, Jun 15 2016
  

       Both yeast and paint have a pleasant smell, are significantly useful in their own specialised way, and can be transported without particular difficulty. Thy can also be dessicated to a convenient, durable form without arousing comment.   

       None of the above are true of the french.   

       // Or is that totally stupid? //   

       You can be sure that if [Max] answers you, the answer will be definitive. Be afraid, be very afraid....   

       // Jesus Christ Max, what the hell are you doing hanging out with us dummies? //   

       Same as us - it can be amusing to watch small, naïve creatures interacting.
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  

       // These steps would be forces of heat, light, cycles of various chemical interactions basically all the forces that were on prelife Earth. //   

       // take a bunch of the molecules that have never been a part of a living organism, apply this process to them and make synthetic life. //   

       you're describing the Miller–Urey experiment (1952), it's pretty basic common knowledge, or so I thought.. honestly, do they not teach this stuff in basic secondary school pre-option (age 11-12) science classes any more?
Skewed, Jun 15 2016
  

       Not the school [doc] went to, obviously.   

       Or maybe they did, but he was (as usual) round the back of the bike sheds, smoking and swigging cheap cider.
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  

       //you're describing the Miller–Urey experiment (1952), it's pretty basic common knowledge, or so I thought.. honestly, do they not teach this stuff in basic secondary school pre- option (age 11-12)// science classes any more? Well, aren't we the charmer.   

       Well if I'm so stupid for having not been taught this in school, do I get partial credit for having come up with it on my own?   

       I think you meant to insult me and very accidentally paid me a pretty big compliment.   

       //Or maybe they did, but he was (as usual) round the back of the bike sheds, smoking and swigging cheap cider.//   

       Interesting how this went from 0 to nasty in such short order.
doctorremulac3, Jun 15 2016
  

       nope didn't mean to insult you doc - expressing frustration at education system - if you came up with this idea sans any prior knowledge through education or subconscious prompting of a half remembered TV science show then kudos are clearly due
Skewed, Jun 15 2016
  

       You're talking about THAT experiment? Yes, I'm well aware of that and I did read about it on my own as well as being told about it in school.   

       This is quite different unless they did something beyond recreating basic elements of life with simulated pre-life Earth conditions.   

       In which case, I am ignorant of the full extent of the experiment, but I don't believe that's the case.   

       This is going the other direction, from life back into inert matter in very, very small increments.
doctorremulac3, Jun 15 2016
  

       Yes, as [doctorremulac3] said, this isn't just Miller-Urey.   

       Pass the cider.
pertinax, Jun 15 2016
  

       Miller-Urey only creates basic amino acids   

       more recent experiments constructing artificial cells gives you the last step   

       but those mostly use material from natural cells rather than building from scratch I think (so more Frankenstein (life from previously living material) than genesis (new life from scratch) perhaps?)   

       may be a step or two between those two steps not covered yet, but Google [amino acid to dna conversion tool] & you'll get some interesting hits
Skewed, Jun 15 2016
  

       Well, I'm at least putting this in the category of "hard science fiction" in that you could make a plausible story about killing people and bringing them back to life and screwing up the process to create an unholy army of the walking dead.   

       Actually I think THAT'S probably been baked. There's probably been as much "research" done by Hollywood into how people can be turned into zombies as the medical community has put into curing cancer.
doctorremulac3, Jun 15 2016
  

       To his credit, he made that cider himself, and rolled that stogie himself out of materials at hand, and made enough of both to share.   

       I loved that Miller-Urey experiment. I remember the image of the huge glass flask, its inside smeared with scheming shoggoth stuff. I think I saw that about the same time Electric Company had the skit with the Blob which I will link; check out young Morgan Freeman.
bungston, Jun 15 2016
  

       // scheming shoggoth stuff. //   

       <marked-for-tagline>   

       // I'm at least putting this in the category of "hard science fiction" //   

       No you're not, you've put it in Other:[general] ....   

       // this went from 0 to nasty in such short order // // nope didn't mean to insult you doc //   

       We did, though ...
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  

       // I loved that Miller-Urey experiment //   

       ditto - when I was about 12 & first heard of it I dreamed of people sending lots of little glass orbs of electrically agitated chemical soup tumbling through space to seed far away planets with new & unique life   

       though I'd use payloads of algae, Tardigrades & some extremophiles & rely on natural selection to diversify them wherever they landed now
Skewed, Jun 15 2016
  

       There's a massive amount of ionizing radiation out there, [Skewed] - if whatever you send is DNA-based, it will need to be inside some very thick shielding to avoid rapid degradation.
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  

       I was 12 - didn't think of that then :)
Skewed, Jun 15 2016
  

       though I have seen some NASA footage where they where experimenting with that kind of thing to see what might survive in space & the subsequent impact   

       I'm not sure (would have to try & find some reference to it on-line or something) but I think there were one or two single cell extremophile type organisms that survived almost anything they threw at them   

       off the top of my head Tardigrades are tough little buggers, shouldn't survive the impact but I think (?) they survive pretty well in space   

       [Edit]   

       yup - just finished the search, Tardigrades can survive in space, they stitch their DNA back together after it's broken up by desiccation, that may be part of how they get around the radiation damage - more prolonged exposure may be a problem but it suggests fairly minimal shielding might be adequate to overcome that
Skewed, Jun 15 2016
  

       // suggests fairly minimal shielding might be adequate //   

       [marked-for-tagline]
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  

       //// suggests fairly minimal shielding might be adequate //   

       [marked-for-tagline]//   

       I think there's already a framed version of that handing on the old Soviet Nuclear design bureau.
bs0u0155, Jun 15 2016
  

       //just for laughs tell him my idea and if he still wants to be friends with you let me know what he said//   

       Thing is, it's not exactly a daft idea but it's not really along the right lines. We can break organisms down into component parts - in fact we do it already. You can, for example, buy fully synthetic in-vitro transcription/translation kits which will, given whatever DNA you like, go through the whole rigmarole of transcribing the genes into RNA and then translating that into proteins. We can also throw in the relevant bits of the respiratory pathway so that those kits will keep themselves topped up with ATP (ie, energy). We could, for that matter, throw in the machinery to replicate DNA.   

       We also understand, reasonably well, how cells make membranes or cell walls, and divide to make new cells. We know all the bits, but we can't put them together in quite the right way to jump-start the cell. But there isn't really a deep mystery there. Probably Craig <spit> Venter's lot will do something like this soon, and it will create a big hoo-hah, but it won't teach us a great deal.   

       The _really_ deep mystery is how did life get started. Once it's started, it's easy to produce bacteria, elephants or clowns - getting started is the only real mystery. Life certainly started out very, very simple - a small handful of molecules that could, together, make copies of themselves. After that, you just crank the handle.   

       That's why Phil is trying to create self-replicating RNA. It's not quite simple enough to have been the very first "life", but it's close. And if we can make one self-replicator out of RNA, we will find other, simpler self-replicators that are better candidates for the first life.   

       //Jesus Christ Max, what the hell are you doing hanging out with us dummies?// I am one of us dummies. Come to think of it, I know or have known half a dozen Nobel laureates, most of whom were dummies - just very persistent and clever dummies.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 15 2016
  

       // Nobel laureates //   

       They're nothing special ... they put their trousers on one leg at a time, just like everyone else*.   

       // clowns //   

       There's a downside to everthing, isn't there ?   

       *Except for Stephen Hawking, who's something of a special case ...
8th of 7, Jun 15 2016
  
      
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