Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

World-First Working Eukaryotic Cell Made From Plastic

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the I-prefer-real-cells dept.

Science 109

Zothecula writes "Previously, chemists have managed to create artificial cell walls and developed synthetic DNA to produce self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cells. Now, for the first time, researchers have used polymers to produce an artificial eukaryotic cell capable of undertaking multiple chemical reactions through working organelles."

cancel ×

109 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

nerdgasm (-1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 9 months ago | (#45984089)

am I the only one who knows what every term used in the summary means?

Re:nerdgasm (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45984137)

I hope not, given that it's written at a 6th grade level and it's only two sentences. But hey, if you're a 5th grader that's probably pretty good!

Re:nerdgasm (3, Funny)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 9 months ago | (#45984207)

I'm a third grader, you insensitive clod!

Re:nerdgasm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984557)

Is it "4: Informative" really? i thought it was "5: Funny" :-)

Re:nerdgasm (4, Informative)

fisted (2295862) | about 9 months ago | (#45985461)

Actually, modding it informative would have been funnier than modding it funny

Re:nerdgasm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988205)

And THIS one should be modded funny instead of informative! :-)

Re:nerdgasm (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 9 months ago | (#45985611)

I'm a third grader, you insensitive clod!

Well. based on today's standards, I could read at a 6th grade level in 3rd grade.

Re:nerdgasm (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 9 months ago | (#45986933)

I hope not, given that it's written at a 6th grade level and it's only two sentences. But hey, if you're a 5th grader that's probably pretty good!

Or a college athlete.

Re: nerdgasm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984321)

am I the only one who knows what every term used in the summary means?

No. I know what "previously" means because I've seen it, um, before.

Re:nerdgasm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984911)

I got almost all terms. But what is "working"? ;-)

Re:nerdgasm (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 9 months ago | (#45985287)

Activities that do not involve /.

Re:nerdgasm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45989515)

No, but you are probably the only one who thinks that it is impressive that you do know it.

I'm sure one of them said it. (5, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45984097)

What scientist could resist? I picture one in the lab, cackling wildly, "It's alive. IT'S ALIVE!"

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45984121)

I hope the next one said "You fools! You'll destroy us all!"

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (3, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 9 months ago | (#45984323)

Pfft, wake me when they have an artificial eukaryotic cell with four asses.

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984455)

Well, you're one, so they only need 3 more.

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984491)

Nuke those arses from the orbit, my mate!

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45985705)

He's talking about donkeys, you goof.

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984449)

now it wants to find sarah conor.

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45985911)

DESTROY US ALL! [youtube.com]

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 9 months ago | (#45985957)

"They laughed at me, you know, at the Institute. They called me mad!"

Re:I'm sure one of them said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45990935)

Fortunate for us no human would ever weaponize this....*cough* (glances at history book)

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984105)

"...chemists have managed to create artificial cell walls and developed synthetic DNA to produce self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cells."

Synthetic prokaryotic organisms (bacteria) containing synthetic DNA? Thought that was a eukaryotic trait.

Re:Hmmm (2, Informative)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 9 months ago | (#45984223)

no you're thinking of the nuclear membrane (or lack thereof) which is what prokaryot/eukaryot refers to. Every living thing contains DNA.

Re:Hmmm (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#45984275)

"Every living thing contains DNA."

That we know of.

Re:Hmmm (0)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 9 months ago | (#45984373)

point still made.

Re:Hmmm (4, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45984547)

I think some things have RNA instead of DNA. And some things that are non-living have DNA, like viruses (or viri? whatever).

Re:Hmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984755)

Viruses. Virus has no Latin plural; viri is the nominative plural (also genitive singular and vocative plural) of vir [wiktionary.org] .

Re:Hmmm (2)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 9 months ago | (#45986571)

Say "viri" drives pendanti wild.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987345)

Say "viri" drives pendanti wild.

[insane rambling...] "pedants" damn you! [...resumes insane rambling]

Re:Hmmm (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 9 months ago | (#45984965)

Viruses have RNA.

Re:Hmmm (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45985029)

Really? [dnaftb.org]

Re:Hmmm (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 9 months ago | (#45985133)

At no point does that article actually state viruses have DNA. Not to mention it reads like an eight-year-old wrote it after reading some fairytale story.

Nevertheless, you were correct when you stated some viruses have DNA.

Re:Hmmm (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 9 months ago | (#45985661)

At no point does that article actually state viruses have DNA. Not to mention it reads like an eight-year-old wrote it after reading some fairytale story.

Nevertheless, you were correct when you stated some viruses have DNA.

The title is Bacteria and viruses have DNA too.

I concur with the "for kids" writing style, but this is a thing they teach in low-numbered grade school.

I was going to state something stupid like, "everyone knows this." But... I know better...

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45985045)

Some do. Many have DNA. Retroviruses have RNA, like HIV. But Herpesviruses, for example use DNA.
Either way, viruses are NOT alive. And no, it's not viri.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 9 months ago | (#45985111)

Ouch!

It was completely unnecessary to bring out the pimp hand for someone who was at least aware enough to correctly spell "slash dot" in semaphore code.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45985117)

Not all of them. For example, you are very likely infected with at least one Herpes species, which carry DNA.
http://viralzone.expasy.org/all_by_species/748.html

Re:Hmmm (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 9 months ago | (#45985123)

Viruses have RNA.--
Sometimes it's fun to feed the trolls - it's a pleasure knowing there's someone out there who's stupider than you.

Let us know the moment that happens.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45986615)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus [wikipedia.org]
Just look at the "Groups" list on the right.

Re:Hmmm (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#45985715)

Fun fact: there is no clear definition of life that anyone can come up with. It's like Justice Potter's quote on porn: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..."

There are definitely RNA based viruses. It's debatable whether they qualify as "alive." Self-replicating RNA mollecules likely preceeded any DNA based life, whether you'd want to consider RNA replicating "life" is up to you.

Personally I'd agree that RNA based viruses are living.

Re:Hmmm (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45985869)

Agree 1000%. There's some defintions of life out there, and some things like people and badgers and marigolds are clearly alive. But there's a smooth transition from us to molecules, and things like viruses are sometimes defined as living when it suits us and sometimes not. Then there's other complex adaptive systems like ecosystems, organizations, and Gaia that exhibit the same properties as any other living thing. I would agree that a virus is a living thing, and so is the world wide web, Anonymous, Wikipedia, planet Earth, et al.

Re:Hmmm (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 9 months ago | (#45986193)

Does Gaia reproduce?

Re:Hmmm (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45988269)

Not that we know of, yet, on our limited time scale. For all we know, another planet seeded ours, through Panspermia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hmmm (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#45988275)

Mules can't reproduce*, yet are still clearly living. Meanwhile fire can reproduce but is clearly not living. That suggests that "able to reproduce" is not a strict requirement.

(* Well okay, there have been some extremely rare instances of mules reproducing, but as a general rule they're infertile)

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45990807)

The cells which compose the mule reproduced, however, which is arguably is the salient characteristic.

And let's not forget about prions.

I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (2, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | about 9 months ago | (#45984107)

I am dressed in organic materials: membranes out wool, nylon, cotton that protect me from outside agressions. I have organelles that are clearly distinct from eachother: liver, spleen, heart, brains. I convert various sugars into chemical energy. And I have a function within the greater collection of my peers which we call a "society", instead of a "body". And hell yes, I produce waste: code.

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984181)

And I have a function within the greater collection of my peers which we call a "society", instead of a "body".

And I have no function, for I am an unemployed electrical engineer, a cancer within the body of your society! Muahahaha!

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (2, Insightful)

hummassa (157160) | about 9 months ago | (#45984239)

You're not a cancer, a cancer is a famous soccer player with 15 children, all rapidly procreating.

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984303)

The unemployed engineer is a benign tumor. The soccer player is malignant.

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984499)

I like to think of him more like societies appendix. He used to have a function although we don't really know what he was good for. Now he is mostly useless.

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984549)

The same could be said of any celebrity including any and all authors, artists and musicians of historical note... Just because something entertains, rather than educates, doesn't make it worthless. Just because it doesn't entertain you doesn't make it a cancer.

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (1)

jma05 (897351) | about 9 months ago | (#45984485)

> a cancer within the body of your society! Muahahaha!

Only if you breed uncontrollably and quickly make many unemployed electrical engineers who won't move out and live in your basement. Otherwise, a phagocyte is on its way to pick you up :-).

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (3, Funny)

jma05 (897351) | about 9 months ago | (#45984495)

> breed uncontrollably

Oh wait. You are an engineer. Never mind.

Re:I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (1)

jma05 (897351) | about 9 months ago | (#45984469)

You forgot to cover the membrane bound nucleus (or nuclei since you presumably have two down there) hosting your genetic material - pretty important for the definition of a Eukaryote.

Re: I am an artificial eukaryotic cell, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984955)

Liver, heart etc are organs, NOT organelles. Organelles include the Golgi and endoplasmic reticulum.

Not a cell (5, Interesting)

sandertje (1748324) | about 9 months ago | (#45984119)

Without their creation being able to replicate, it is essentially not a cell. All they've done now is having made a compartmentalized catalyst.

Re:Not a cell (4, Informative)

cnettel (836611) | about 9 months ago | (#45984143)

In other words, they made very neat bags of mostly water.

Re:Not a cell (4, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | about 9 months ago | (#45984571)

Hey, I'm a very neat bag of water! Well, mostly water.

Re:Not a cell (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#45984149)

Blame the university's press department, as always. There's quite a jump in hyperbole between the Ange [wiley.com] and Nature Chem's comments [nature.com] , versus the press release [www.ru.nl] . Why do journalists even read university press releases any more? You know they're going to be misleading.

Re:Not a cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984229)

They could do so much better, if only you'd donate. Universities like money, ever so much.

Re:Not a cell (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45984305)

Why would the need to self-replicate define a cell? Are you no longer alive if you get a vasectomy? Is a mule not alive because it can't have viable offspring?

Re:Not a cell (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 9 months ago | (#45984531)

No, but a car isn't alive because no car can self-replicate.

Aside from that, I think you've strayed off topic. A mule is not a cell, and a human is not a cell. A vasectomy has no bearing whatsoever on whether a thing needs to be self-replicating in order to be a cell. The biological definition of cell given by wikipedia is "Cells are the smallest unit of life that can replicate independently, and are often called the "building blocks of life"." I'm sure you can find a definition that doesn't include self-replicating, if for no other reason than that it is rarely important.

Really this comes down to a semantic argument, which is ultimately not very interesting (and has no bearing whatsoever on the infertile). What is significant is whether this thing is not self-replicating. Assuming the sandertje's interpretation is accurate, anyway -- the article is thin on details and only mentions that chemists have made self-replicating cells before (without the multiple reactions) and doesn't seem to mention whether this guy can self-replicate.

Re:Not a cell (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45984567)

No, but a car isn't alive because no car can self-replicate.

Who's the one straying off topic? A car isn't alive, not because of its inablity to self-replicate, but because it doesn't respond to stimuli, change in response to its envorinment, grow, etc. It's a simple machine. Life has stuck around for so long on Earth because it self-replicates, but that doesn't mean something needs to self-replicate in order for it to be alive. For me, whether this artificial cell can self-replicate has little bearing on its complexity. It can still be artificial life without that trait. Granted, ability to self replicate would make it more interesting.

Re:Not a cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45986227)

A car isn't alive, not because of its inablity to self-replicate, but because it doesn't respond to stimuli, change in response to its envorinment, grow, etc.

On the contrary. Cars respond to the "stimuli" of a turning key, the press of a foot, etc They respond to environmental changes -- high or low atmospheric oxygen levels, atmospheric pressure, terrain grades. And they have a rudimentary electrical nervous system, ie the ECU. Sure they are entirely dependent on humans to get food and repairs, but if they had smarter computers that wouldn't necessarily be the case. They can't self-replicate because we didn't endow them with that ability, but other than that they fit the criteria for life.

Re:Not a cell (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#45988255)

All but the last sentence. They are not self-directing at all. This wouldn't include self-driving cars either because they don't come up with their destinations. Yeah, yeah, you shop for your wife sometimes, but you know what was meant and cars lack that. You might **possibly** eke out a comparison betwixt them and the most simple of virises, but it would still be strained. Self-replication is however, the lynchpin.

Re:Not a cell (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 9 months ago | (#45988877)

From wikipedia:
Biology
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following characteristics or traits:[32][34][35]

1.Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
2.Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells â" the basic units of life.
3.Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
4.Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
5.Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
6.Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
7.Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.
These complex processes, called physiological functions, have underlying physical and chemical bases, as well as signaling and control mechanisms that are essential to maintaining life.

Alternatives
To reflect the minimum phenomena required, other biological definitions of life have been proposed,[36] many of these are based upon chemical systems. Biophysicists have commented that living things function on negative entropy.[37][38] In other words, living processes can be viewed as a delay of the spontaneous diffusion or dispersion of the internal energy of biological molecules towards more potential microstates.[39] In more detail, according to physicists such as John Bernal, Erwin SchrÃdinger, Eugene Wigner, and John Avery, life is a member of the class of phenomena that are open or continuous systems able to decrease their internal entropy at the expense of substances or free energy taken in from the environment and subsequently rejected in a degraded form.[40][41][42] At a higher level, living beings are thermodynamic systems that have an organized molecular structure.[39] That is, life is matter that can reproduce itself and evolve as survival dictates.[43][44] Hence, life is a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution.[45]

Others take a systemic viewpoint that does not necessarily depend on molecular chemistry. One systemic definition of life is that living things are self-organizing and autopoietic (self-producing). Variations of this definition include Stuart Kauffman's definition as an autonomous agent or a multi-agent system capable of reproducing itself or themselves, and of completing at least one thermodynamic work cycle.[46] Life can be modeled as a network of inferior negative feedbacks of regulatory mechanisms subordinated to a superior positive feedback formed by the potential of expansion and reproduction.[47] Alternatively, life can be said to consist of things with the capacity for metabolism and motion,[32] or that life is self-reproduction "with variations"[48][49] or "with an error rate below the sustainability threshold."[49]

Viruses
Electron micrograph of adenovirus with a cartoon to demonstrate its icosahedral structureViruses are most often considered replicators rather than forms of life. They have been described as "organisms at the edge of life,"[50] since they possess genes, evolve by natural selection,[51][52] and replicate by creating multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly. However, viruses do not metabolize and they require a host cell to make new products. Virus self-assembly within host cells has implications for the study of the origin of life, as it may support the hypothesis that life could have started as self-assembling organic molecules.[53][54][55]

Re:Not a cell (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 9 months ago | (#45984369)

Why is that required? Are red blood cells not cells?

Re:Not a cell (3, Informative)

sandertje (1748324) | about 9 months ago | (#45985253)

This is pure semantics, but indeed, red blood cells are a bit of misnomer. Their only function is transporting oxygen. Basically they are a vesicle filled with haemoglobin. Essentially, red blood cells are as much 'cell' as platelets are. The complication that arises here is that the non-mammalian counterpart DOES have a nucleus and organelles; and as such IS a normal cell.

Re:Not a cell (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#45985965)

It won't be long before that happens. It's been possible for a while now to make a mitotic spindle without a cell (mitotic spindle being the thing that splits DNA to put one in each cell.) It's also been possible for a while now to make micelles [wikipedia.org] which are essentially the membrane around a cell which can behave much like cells. Recently the two have been combined [rupress.org] , making artificial spindles inside such droplets.

The second part of mitosis (cell replication) is the cell itself splitting, cytokinesis. It seems that people are working on doing that artificially [mbl.edu] . I've never heard of anyone getting a micelle to undergo cytokinesis, but there are undoubtedly people working on that. And then immediately, someone will hire a postdoc to combine the two to get complete artificial mitosis going.

In vitro replication of DNA has been possible for quite a while too. Someone will get DNA in a micelle duplicating, then dividing by artificial mitosis and artificial cytokinesis. Probably only once at first, since making the artificial cell grow would be yet another complication, but it should meet your definition.

I'd guess it would take about a decade, mainly because a lot of the technical details and hard work will be driven by other goals. The reason people spent time making the spindles in bubbles wasn't to do it, but because they wanted to study how the spindle is sized. There are clear questions one can answer with making micelles divide. I'm not clear why the researchers in the current article did this, but they no doubt had a question to answer, not just "Hey, I bet we can make a cell from plastic." I'm not sure what questions one would be able to answer by doing the full artificial dividing cell I just described, but someone will probably eventually come up with a reason.

a triumph for gayniggerkind! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984125)

At last, men can create life, free of female interference!

No, they did not (4, Informative)

jw3 (99683) | about 9 months ago | (#45984187)

Again, the press release is misleading. Worse, it fires back on the real and great accomplishment by suggesting it is something that it is not.

The scientists managed to squeeze key enzymes into different minuscule compartments of a cell-like structure. That in itself is fascinating and a great achievement; but that doesn't make an eukaryotic cell. It does not replicate; it does not synthesize the lipid-like structures; it lacks a cytoskeleton and a complex organization; the reactions going on are few and very simple. It is as much an eukaryotic cell as a neural net algorithm is a working brain.

However, it has working enzymes within little bubbles within other bubbles, which can be called "compartmentalization", a feature of eukaryotic cells that distinguish them from bacterial cells.

Nonetheless, this is a considerable achievment that has both a practical side and is a working model with potential to make in vitro experiments helping to understand the processes that go on in the real cells.

Re:No, they did not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984255)

Yes. Call me when their cell reproduce, including the compartment.

Re:No, they did not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984693)

No science has greater possible benefit or possible danger to mankind than genetic engineering. The problem here is that people keep thinking that they are just playing with something that is safe. It poses grave dangers. The permutations of possible negative events are massive and are possibly catastrophic. This doesn't mean that research shouldn't happen but that great care should happen. I sincerely doubt much care or thought is being given to any consequences. The logic operational here is:

Because we can we shall...

It should always be:

Because we can we means we should proceed with all deliberate caution and all attention to wisdom.

Re:No, they did not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984873)

HEY, I'll have you know I am a complex set of neural networks, you insensitive clod!

Re:No, they did not (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 9 months ago | (#45985069)

It's mind-boggling if you consider what it would take to actually create an artificial cell.
You would take the most advanced programmable manufacturing plant -- perhaps one that creates any drug and is yet to be designed. Not only would it have to be able to request supplies and may anything required to repair itself, and perhaps create a new factory, you would have to shrink it down to --- the size of a cell.

I think we will develop artificial intelligence well before we will ever create an artificial cell. Borrowing the natural systems that have already perfected this process is quite a bit easier.

You have to wonder about anyone who would see this headline and actually believe; "Wow, they made an artificial Cell!" Much less someone dense enough to make the headline in the first place.

Re:No, they did not (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 9 months ago | (#45989519)

I think we will develop artificial intelligence well before we will ever create an artificial cell. Borrowing the natural systems that have already perfected this process is quite a bit easier.

The popular assumption appears to be that cells (including neurons) are stupid and just react to their environment without much processing. And intelligence is mainly emergent from networks of neurons, and so many AI researchers work from those assumptions.

But as you said a cell is quite complicated. So it seems presumptuous to assume they're stupid without even knowing most of the details on how they make decisions. How does a white blood cell decide where to head to chase down a bacterium? Which part makes the decision to extend pseudopods and where?

So maybe cells aren't that much dumber than the usual range of dumb animals. They just lack the sensors and appendages animals have. How smart could you appear if you were a blob that was blind, deaf, dumb? Of course most cells won't need to be very smart - how smart would you evolve to be with those limitations? But other cells like neurons or even white blood cells might be smarter than assumed. Maybe about as smart as a worm or insect?

A person with "locked-in" syndrome might not appear very smart, but hook him up to a suit that allows him to move and talk and he might appear smarter.

Re:No, they did not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45990877)

In nature you can get extremely complex and intelligent-seeming behavior from the most simplistic of reactions. This is especially true when observed by humans, because we have a habit of imputing agency to things.

Re:No, they did not (1)

jzatopa (2743773) | about 9 months ago | (#45988963)

So if they were to find a way to make such a "cell" reproduce autonomously would that make it a eukaryotic cell?

mma brooklyn (-1, Offtopic)

Renzogracieacademy (3474433) | about 9 months ago | (#45984201)

Come over to join Ranzo Gracie Fight Academy's Community and practice your fighting skills in Muay Thai, MMA, Judo, Wresteling ,and Jiu Jitsu in Brooklyn, NY

So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984251)

So the Koalas will have something to eat then?

i guess we're working our way backwards. (3, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about 9 months ago | (#45984343)

Thats nothing. we've created an entire marine organism made of plastic. [wikipedia.org] we track its age (it was born in 1988) and migratory habits throughout the seasons. we also monitor its feeding patterns and chart its growth too. remarkably enough it has almost no known predator, but seems enirely peaceful.

it might not really be alive but...i want to believe.

Obligatory... (0)

da (93780) | about 9 months ago | (#45984357)

I, for one, welcome our new plastic overlords...

And Blame! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984425)

Silicone life is born.

And Blame!... (1)

Sylvain Bougerel (3503371) | about 9 months ago | (#45984431)

Silicone life is born.

Re:And Blame!... (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 9 months ago | (#45984509)

Silicone != Silicon

Re:And Blame!... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45985237)

That's what SHE said!

pee in my butt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984521)

cuz i like to pee in mine!

Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984645)

I, for one, welcome our plastic celled overlords.

Not eukaryotic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984669)

I fail to see what makes this cell Eukaryotic. I mean, sure, it's compartmentalized. But then, many bacterial cells are also compartmentalized. Prokaryote = no nucleus, Eukaryote = with nucleus, this cell = no nucleus.

Robot Evolution!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45984689)

The great robot evolution has begun!!

When it can reproduce ... Skynet (1)

fygment (444210) | about 9 months ago | (#45985743)

This will be the technology that the dominant AI of the future will use ... to infiltrate our brains and make us mindless slaves to its will.

Re:When it can reproduce ... Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988415)

Toxoplasmosis, world domination by cats.

Re:When it can reproduce ... Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988845)

infiltrate our brains and make us mindless slaves to its will.

Television has already been invented. Rather than Terminator, should should be referencing Network.

copying mostly from existing DNA pattern ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45985977)

Is copying mostly from existing DNA pattern actually 'creating'. They may have assembled the DNA bit by bit but the pattern that was largely the result of 3+billion years of evolution was used with a few 'mod's... - they did NOT create it all (totally new pattern) from scratch (and likely couldnt do that in a thousand years of future advancements)

The other thing is -- does this cell reproduce successfully -- the DNA it has built its own new 'plastic' cell membrane ??
The 'plastic' they used interacts with many cell mechanisms when part of the 'walls' (which BTW makes it a 'plant') - is this cell they created something that just lasted a little while and then strangled on the 'plastics' non-functioning in some important function ??

Re:copying mostly from existing DNA pattern ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45986005)

oops mixed it up with "first synthetic lifeform" story (google that to see that story)

supposedly they copied a sequence of 1 million basepairs (but again was not an original pattern)

New Life ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988399)

Oh dear, I think that the Texas Education Board will go wild with excitement ! God is alive and well, working in a US lab !

Multicellular working plastic girlfriends! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988787)

At last! My slashdotter dream approacheth .....

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?