Can we build a living cell from lifeless components?
...and in doing so, understand how life works?
With this initiative we aim to address one of the grand scientific challenges of this century: building a synthetic cell from its molecular building blocks.
Understanding the mechanisms of cellular life will bring vast intellectual, scientific and technological rewards.
Artist’s impression of a synthetic cell, representing the three basic processes taking place in a living cell: cell fuelling (green), DNA processing (orange/red), and cell division (blue). In the BaSyC programme, we take on the challenge to bring the essential components of a cell together, controlling the complex interactions among them, and constructing a synthetic cell with the basic functionalities of a living cell: self-sustained growth, transmission of information, and division
BaSyC has been granted the "gravitation" funding by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in cooperation with NWO.
The rewarding ceremony took place on 8 May 2017 in The Hague in the presence of the then minister Jet Bussemaker.
Building a synthetic cell is one of the grand scientific and intellectual challenges of the 21st century. While we have extensive knowledge about the molecular building blocks that form the basis of modern life, we currently do not understand how these building blocks collectively operate to define life. With BaSyC we propose to build a synthetic cell from the bottom-up, which arguably is the most fundamental approach towards elucidating the cell’s intricate working and basic life-defining principles. Truly understanding cellular life will bring huge intellectual, scientific, and technological rewards. At the same time, it will raise fascinating philosophical and ethical questions about how society may cope with new opportunities that result from these new fundamental insights.