James Tour on whether scientists have built synthetic cell

Try to build a cell even hypothetically. Assemble a dream team of all your best professors and you say “Can you make a living cell if you were to give them the chemicals in homochiro form and the informational code?” So say I’ll give you all the chemicals. Can you build a cell. No. I’’ll give you the informational code. I’ll give you DNA in any order that you want. I’ll give you the RNA in any order that you want. I’ll even give you the enzymes all assembled. I’ll give you the lipids all in homochiral form, whatever lipids you want. I’ll give you all the proteins, all the ionophores, all the carbohydrates in whatever form you want. Here they are all in separate bottles in your modern laboratory, not under a rock outside. But could you make a cell? Anybody in the right mind would say “no way.” I have no idea how to assemble those together into a cell. And even if I could, I don’t know how to get the thing running to spark life. We have no idea. You say “You’ve read about synthetic cells.” In 2020,  Craig Venter’s team copied an existing bacterial genome and transplanted it into another cell.” They call that a synthetic cell. So I buy a Corvette. What I do is I take out the computer control box and I take out the little chip about that big and I go into my fabrication facility and I make a copy of that chip and then I take that chip that I made I stick it back in and boom the car runs. Can I say I made that Corvette? I didn’t make that Corvette. You just copied an existing chip and you stuck that into the nucleus. That’s not a synthetic cell. Everything was already there.