Material-Life Boundary Research Group

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Introduction of Research

Everything that exists in this world, including living organisms, is made of matter. However, the difference between a living organism and simple matter depends on its ability to replicate itself. Cells,
 one of the smallest units of living organisms, are able to self-replicate. Viruses, arguably the ultimate organism, can replicate themselves by using other cells. Physical damage can prevent replication, while the organism is still more than mere matter. Where is the boundary between matter and living organisms? We use the ultimate “seeing” tool, the electron microscope, to explore the boundaries between life and matter.

Phase contrast cryo-EM(JEM-2200FS)
Medusavirus discovered from spring water in Japan, which has a gene set similar to eukaryotes.