Synthesising Ribosomes in a Test Tube

The goal of synthesising a ribosome from scratch in a test tube has been on the cards for quite some time, but it wasn’t until synthetic biologist Michael C. Jewett and geneticist George M. Church knocked their heads against the problem that a solution was found. They combined all of the necessary constituents, genes for ribosomal RNA, natural ribosomal proteins, and enzymes in a test tube in a “one-pot synthesis scheme”. Allowing all the constituent parts to react together in a pathway which mimics their in vivo pathway they were able to synthesise a ribosome in a test tube. Ribozymes are the factories of the cell, the machines that create proteins by reading RNA and now with our ability to make these machines we are moving quickly towards being able to alter them to do new things for us. Assembling the ribosomes in vitro through a process very similar to the way cells do it will allow us to better understand their construction and function. Next the researchers would like to synthesise all 57 ribosome parts: the 54 proteins and three strands of ribosomal RNA as this is an important step in the understanding of the whole mechanism. It is hoped that this advancement will aid in the future creation of new synthetic lifeforms which will be able to perform a task that we design them for such as synthesis of proteins or chemicals useful in medicine etc. In conclusion this achievement is epic and someone should be giving those scientists a hi-5 for their four years of hard work on this problem. (x, x)