Can synthetic biology shed light on the origin of life?

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Malaterre, Christophe
preprint description
It is a most commonly accepted hypothesis that life originated from inanimate matter, somehow being a synthetic product of organic aggregates, and as such, a result of some sort of prebiotic synthetic biology. In the past decades, the newly formed scientific discipline of synthetic biology has set ambitious goals by pursuing the complete design and production of genetic circuits, entire genomes or even whole organisms. In this paper, I argue that synthetic biology might also shed some novel and interesting perspectives on the question of the origin of life, and that, in addition, it might challenge our most commonly accepted definitions of life, thereby changing the ways we might think about life and its origin.