As the genetic code is universal, can mRNA from a human cell be correctly translated by a prokaryote in a in vitro translation system?


Short answer: Yes, you can.

Usually these are coupled systems for transcription and translation. For these you clone the gene of interest into a vector which contains a prokaryotic promoter which is then used to generate the mRNA in the tube. This mRNA is then translated in the second step into a protein. This works very well, but the protein is missing the typical post-translational modifications of eukaryotic cells like glycosylations, as these are not existant in the bacteria.

These kits can be purchased of the shelf from the usual biotech companies. Mostly these are based on E.coli cell lysates. They work like shown in the figure (from here):

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