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SYSTEMS CHEMISTRY

Combining catalysis and replication

It’s not known how life’s essential properties of replication, metabolism and compartmentalization were first integrated. Two recent articles now shed light on how metabolic characteristics may be incorporated into replicating systems, harnessing an external energy source to increase their rate of replication and acquiring catalytic activity.

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Fig. 1: Schematic representation of the formation of a self-replicator capable of protometabolism.

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Correspondence to Pablo Solís-Muñana or Jack L. Y. Chen.

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Solís-Muñana, P., Chen, J.L.Y. Combining catalysis and replication. Nat. Chem. 12, 585–587 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-0500-x

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