INCREDIBLE: For the First Time EVER, Living Cells Have Formed Carbon-Silicon Bonds!

Science fiction is one step closer to becoming a reality with the discovery by scientists that they are able to bond living cells with silicone, making carbon-silicon bonds.

Carbon-silicon bonds have been made before, but never with anything in nature, meaning this is the first time in history they have been found.

Silicon is the second most common element in the Earth's crust, but it has never before been linked with natural biology.

"No living organism is known to put silicon-carbon bonds together, even though silicon is so abundant, all around us, in rocks and all over the beach," says one of the researchers, Jennifer Kan from Caltech.

Although the bond was formed by scientists, it has proven that this type of formation could actually happen independently in nature if the conditions were right.

The researchers isolated a protein that occurs naturally in the bacterium Rhodothermus marinus, found in Iceland's hot springs.

This was then linked with a protein, called cytochrome c enzyme, showing that these kind of bonds could attach silicon atoms to carbon.

"After three rounds of mutations, the protein could bond silicon to carbon 15 times more efficiently than any synthetic catalyst," Aviva Rutkin reports for New Scientist.

This new discovery could revolutionise the world of pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, and fuels.
"This is something that people talk about, dream about, wonder about," Annaliese Franz from the University of California, Davis, who wasn’t involved in the research, told New Scientist.

"Any pharmaceutical chemist could read this on Thursday and on Friday decide they want to take this as a building block that they could potentially use."

It also suggests that there could be in the future, some kind of lifeforms that are part organic and part silicon.
"This study shows how quickly nature can adapt to new challenges," one of the team, Frances Arnold, said in a press statement.

"The DNA-encoded catalytic machinery of the cell can rapidly learn to promote new chemical reactions when we provide new reagents and the appropriate incentive in the form of artificial selection. Nature could have done this herself if she cared to."

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INCREDIBLE: For the First Time EVER, Living Cells Have Formed Carbon-Silicon Bonds! INCREDIBLE: For the First Time EVER, Living Cells Have Formed Carbon-Silicon Bonds! Reviewed by C C on 15:28:00 Rating: 5
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