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Progress in Artificial life

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U.S. scientists said they have taken an important step toward making an artificial life form by making a ribosome -- the cell's factory.

The ribosome makes the proteins that carry out key business for all forms of life. Messenger RNA carries DNA's genetic instructions to a cell's ribosome, which then cooks up the desired protein. Every living organism from bacteria to humans uses a ribosome, and they are all strikingly similar.

It is not quite artificial life, but an important step in that direction, said George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, who directed the research with a single graduate student.

"If you going to make synthetic life that is anything like current life ... you have got to have this ... biological machine," Church told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Engineered cell engine is step to artificial life

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