Several laboratories are pursuing the synthesis of cellular systems from different directions, including those that begin with
simple chemicals to those that exploit existing cells. The methods that begin with nonliving components tend to focus on mimicking specific
features of life, such as genomic replication, protein synthesis, sensory systems, and compartment formation, growth, and division.
Conversely, the more prevalent synthetic biology approaches begin with something that is already alive and seek to impart new behavior
on existing cells. Here we discuss advances in building cell-like systems that mimic key features of life with defined components.
Keywords: Cell-like, minimal cell, origin of life, protocell, riboswitch, synthetic biology.
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