Living systems are currently limited to 20 'building blocks' for protein production - could we supplement these with new building materials?
Part of the Cambridge Festival 2022.
The rich biodiversity of life and complexity of life’s important processes come from proteins, molecular machines that grant a living system its variety of abilities. These proteins which constitute life are almost exclusively created from the same 20 chemical building blocks.
Also, these building blocks are again dictated by the same set of instructions – the genetic code.
Synthetic biologist Kim Liu asks whether we could break down and re-write these rules in living systems to include more chemical building blocks.
Imagine the potential that another 10 new chemical building blocks could grant to life’s variety of abilities; could we perhaps endow living systems with new abilities that nature herself cannot currently evolve.