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Developing Cell-Free Ribosomes in a Test Tube

Synthetic biology researchers at Northwestern University say they have developed a system that can rapidly create cell-free ribosomes in a test tube, then select the ribosome that can perform a certain function. The system, called ribosome synthesis and evolution (RISE), is an important step toward using ribosomes beyond their natural capabilities, according to the scientists, who add that the key feature of RISE is the ability to evolve ribosomes without cell viability constraints. The result, they note, could be new ways to synthesize materials, like nylon, or therapies like new antibiotics that could address rising antibiotic resistance.

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