From chemical autopoiesis to synthetic biology
In the early 1990s pioneer experiments on chemical autopoiesis (self-production) led, on one hand, to the discovery of lipidic micro-compartments and their dynamics as useful models for origins-of-life research, and on the other hand, to the adoption of a systemic perspective in experimental research on minimal living cells.
Moreover, the underlying idea of constructing cell models by assembling chemical components (the constructive, or synthetic, approach) has provided an operational field now recognized as bottom-up synthetic biology.
This article discusses the origin of chemical autopoiesis and recapitulates the very early experiments, then presents examples of current developments that aim at assembling protocells and artificial/synthetic cells both for basic and applied science.
Text in English.