Scientists Just Got Closer To Creating Artificial Life in A Lab

controversial theory posits that life began when RNA spontaneously began to replicate itself — and now researchers are claiming they’ve replicated part of that process in a lab.

In interviews with the Washington Post, scientists say they’ve created an RNA molecule that made copies of other types of RNA, which gets its experts ever closer to creating the conditions for early Earth life in a lab.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies scientists worked from the theory that before there was DNA or proteins, RNA existed as the initial ingredient in the so-called “primordial soup.”

As part of their research, WaPo reports, they created a lab-made RNA molecule that accurately copied others and resulted in a functioning enzyme. Now that the institute has done that, it’s poised to study the earliest evolutionary stages of life in unprecedented ways.

Gerald Joyce, the president of Salk who co-authored a new paper about the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, told WaPo that although the researchers’ lab-made molecule isn’t yet self-replicating, the one they did create is a huge step to creating life in the lab.

If RNA is created that is able to replicate itself, the Salk president said, “then it would be alive.” “This is the road to how life can arise in a laboratory,” Joyce said, “or, in principle, anywhere in the universe.”

Read the full story at Futurism.