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Droplets with reproductive drive.


Self-replicating chemical structures serve as poor, though recognizable, impostors of living reproduction (SN: 2/3/90, p.69). But scientists in France and Switzerland say they have come up with a chemical process that mimics cell multiplication better than any such system yet reported.

In the Oct. 24, 1990 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, they describe their preparation of "self-replicating reverse micelles" - tiny water droplets surrounded by a surfactant layer and suspended in an organic solvent. When precursor molecules dissolved in the solvent stick to the surfactant layer, lithium hydroxide in the droplets splits these molecules into the very components making up the surfactant layer. The reverse micelles divide into a growing population of ever-smaller, cell-like spheres.
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Title Annotation:self-replicating chemical structures
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 19, 1991
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