- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Automatic “evolution machine” creates more efficient enzymes on a microchip
Our bodies are serviced by a huge workforce of enzymes, which speed up the chemical reactions that rage within our cells. These enzymes have been crafted into a vast array of shapes and functions over millions of years of evolution but new ones can be generated on a microchip using the same principles.
Early attempts to design proteins from scratch resulted in fairly crude enzymes that were outperformed by nature’s more elegant and finely-tuned efforts. Scientists have since developed more efficient artificial enzymes using the same evolutionary principles that generated naturally occurring ones. The process involves mutating an initial pool of enzymes to get a varied mix, testing them for an ability-of-choice, and weeding out the most successful ones for