Scientists at UCSD and Harvard have created synthetic self-assembling cell membranes, furthering the possibility creating artificial life forms. Woah.

Cell membranes, if you recall from 8th grade Biology, separates the interior of cells—i.e. nuclei, cytoplasm, etc.—from the external environment. And cells, in general, are the smallest unit of living things. The prototypes could very well help to explain the origin of the first cell, a chicken-verses-egg-like mystery.

“We don’t understand this really fundamental step in our existence, which is how non-living matter went to living matter,” said UCSD chemistry professor Neal Devaraj. “[This] could teach us a lot—even the basic chemical, biological principles that are necessary for life.”

[via Gizmag]