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Scientists Close to Reconstructing First Living Cell

June 11, 2008
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THE FIRST CELL?: Scientists at Harvard Medical School have designed what they think is a reasonable model for the first cell on Earth, some 3.5 to four billion years ago.

Modern cells are like microscopic cities: They have power plants (mitochondria), trash dumps (lysosomes), local government (the nucleus, with DNA serving as the legal charter), and many other activities going on inside their boundaries. They also have a border patrol in the form of a double-layered membrane that uses a series of protein-powered pumps, pores and channels to let nutrients in and keep other chemicals and substances out.
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