Some time last year, I found an article on Wikipedia about the smallest something to be able to reproduce.

I don't remember exactly what it was, but I am fairly certain that after the initial discovery another of the previous organism (this one slightly smaller) was discovered.

I think that the smallest something might have been the smallest self-replicating protein, or smallest self-replicating molecule, or something like that.

It was not mentioned in this thread: Which organism has the smallest genome length?

It had a strange, stand-out name and I believe it was discovered in the 90s.


You're probably thinking of the Spiegelman Monster. It was actually discovered in 1965, but it was discovered that it became shorter over time in 1997.

It also wasn't included in that thread, and it has a strange name.


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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand how this fits the criterion of 'self-replicating' since it seems to require the addition of a replicase enzyme to the in vitro system. $\endgroup$ – Alan Boyd Jan 29 '14 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ @AlanBoyd Neither do I, but it seemed to fit (some of) the criteria, and I thought it was worth a shot. Apparently it was correct! $\endgroup$ – Owen Versteeg Jan 29 '14 at 17:43

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