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Protocells: Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter offers a comprehensive resource on current attempts to create simple forms of life from scratch in the laboratory. These minimal versions of cells, known as protocells, are entities with lifelike properties created from nonliving materials, and the book provides in-depth investigations of processes at the interface between nonliving and living matter. Chapters by experts in the field put this state-of-the-art research in the context of theory, laboratory work, and computer simulations on the components and properties of protocells. The book also provides perspectives on research in related areas and such broader societal issues as commercial applications and ethical considerations.
Protocells: Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter promises to be the essential reference for research on bottom-up assembly of life and living technology for years to come. It is written to be both resource and inspiration for scientists working in this exciting and important field and a definitive text for the interested layman.
Steen Rasmussen is Scientific Team Leader for Self-Organizing Systems at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Mark A. Bedau is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Reed College, cofounder and COO of ProtoLife Srl. and the coeditor of Emergence: Contemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science (MIT Press, 2008). Liaohai Chen is a molecular biologist and Group Leader in the Biosciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory. David Deamer is Research Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz. David C. Krakauer is Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Norman H. Packard is cofounder and CEO of ProtoLife Srl. Peter F. Stadler is Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Leipzig. Rasmussen, Packard, and Stadler are External Research Professors at the Santa Fe Institute.
"To create life from scratch is the ultimate goal of origin of life research and one of the great scientific challenges of 21st century. A program to synthesize wet artificial life was initiated by a group of scholars in 2000. This collective volume presents a fascinating progress report and sketches the paths that eventually will lead to an artificial cell. Life has many features, the most basic of them are compartmentalization, metabolism, autopoiesis, multiplication, and inheritable encoded information. The volume covers the state of the art in all subdisciplines with excellent articles written by first rank scientists. To bring partial solutions together and to unite them in a great experiment is the task of the future."
- Peter Schuster, University of Vienna
"Protocells, which bridge nonliving and living matter, are playing increasingly important roles in studies on the origin of life, artificial life, and synthetic biology. This book serves as a bridge for both nonexperts and experts in the field, providing introductory and primer material on protocells, as well as more advanced, cutting-edge updates on this exciting subject."
- J.J. Collins, Co-Director, Center for BioDynamics and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University