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Chemical system: Is it alive?


From Kathryn Gempf at Chemistry World:

They crawl. They eat. They excrete. So you’d be forgiven for thinking these globules created by a team Japan were alive – but they’re not.

Together, DDAB, oleate and calcium, form globules, called vesicles, with intriguing life-like movement. The vesicles crawl around on a glass slide by reacting with iodide ions, ingest smaller vesicles to maintain their size and energy, and leave behind waste; just like a living system. More.

Hot phone: Coming to life? Origin of life? Um…

However, Pier Luigi Luisi, a specialist in synthetic biology at Roma Tre University, warns that phenomena like this mechanical motion are generally ‘due to a very particular context of environmental conditions.’ Therefore, changing any aspect of the experiment could lose the particles their movement.

He probably means that the compound does not seek, to live, as many life forms do.

Paper. (public access)

See also: What we know and don’t, know about the origin of life


Life forms seek to live. Does that matter?

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I would ask in what sense they excrete waste. Is this the elimination of toxic chemicals that would otherwise accumulate and bring about the death of the system? Mung

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