NWO-VICI grant awarded to Professor Sijbren Otto

8. 2. 2013 | Susan

Sijbren Otto received a 1.5 M euro NWO-VICI grant for a research project that aims to achieve Darwinian evolution with fully synthetic autocatalytic molecules. Biological systems exist by virtue of continuous processes of synthesis and degradation. At essentially all levels of biology there is a dynamic balance between reproduction and decay; between life and death. Ironically, without decay and death there would be no biology. The VICI grant has been awarded to learn how to operate synthetic chemical systems of replicators (i.e. autocatalysts) in the same continuous replication/degradation regime as is commonplace in biology. Mastering these principles and applying these to molecular networks of self-replicating molecules should then enable the development of fully synthetic systems capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution. Such systems would pave the way to the development of de-novo life. For more information see: www.otto-lab.com