Multifaceted cell mimicry in coacervate-based synthetic cells

Alexander F Mason, Jan C M van Hest

Published: November 2019


Cells, the discrete living systems that comprise all life on Earth, are a boundless source of inspiration and motivation for many researchers in the natural sciences. In the field of bottom-up synthetic cells, researchers seek to create multifaceted, self-assembled, chemical systems that mimic the properties and behaviours of natural life. In this perspective, we will describe the relatively recent application of complex coacervates to synthetic cells, and how they have been used to model an expanding range of biologically relevant phenomena. Furthermore, we will explore the unique advantages and disadvantages of coacervate-based synthetic cells, and their potential impact on the field in the years to come.

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