Research of the Mutschler Group

Research of the Mutschler Group

Engineering of genetic systems for synthetic living systems.

The creation of artificial cell-like systems from inanimate components that are capable of mimicking the remarkable complexity of living cells remains a fundamental challenge of synthetic biology and origins of life research. Although there have been substantial advances towards the reconstitution of subsystems based on biological macromolecules, recreating some of the most fundamental aspects of life - replication and adaptation to new environments through evolution - are still in their infancies. We aim to address these challenges with a bottom-up approach starting with reconstituted protein and RNA components.

Our contribution to the MaxSynBio mission includes 

  1. The generation semi-synthetic genetic systems with a bottom-up approach using reconstituted protein and nucleic acid components. 
  2. Strategies to enhance the autonomy and lifetime of biomimetic systems by encoding and evolving crucial parts of biosynthetic pathways on synthetic genomes.
  3. The development of experimental approaches that enable the adaption of synthetic genomes to selective pressures via Darwinian Evolution.

Another important focus of our research group is to gain a better understanding of the role of different prebiotic environments to support the emergence of life de novo. In particular, we are interested in plausible experimental scenarios that include RNA-enzymes (ribozymes), peptides, simple compartments and out-of-equilibrium environments and result in the formation of primitive protocells with life-like properties.

Go to Editor View