Building a synthetic cell is one of the grand scientific and intellectual challenges of the 21st century. While we have extensive knowledge about the molecular building blocks that form the basis of modern life, we currently do not understand how these building blocks collectively operate to define life.
Cellular life, which provides the fundament of all organisms, is the result of a collection of highly controlled, energy consuming, dynamic self-assembly and selforganization processes that lead to autonomous entities that can reproduce, transfer information, interact, and evolve. BaSyC proposes to build a synthetic cell from the bottom-up, which arguably is the most fundamental approach towards elucidating the cell’s intricate working, and basic life-defining principles. Truly understanding cellular life will bring huge intellectual, scientific, and technological rewards. At the same time, it will raise
fascinating philosophical and ethical questions about how society may cope with new opportunities that result from these new fundamental insights.
BaSyC is led by professor Marileen Dogterom from the Technical University of Delft. For more information, click here.