Artificial intelligence experts in Switzerland are using computer-generated 'creatures' in their first step towards creating life.
According to the New Scientist, the University of Zurich has created computer simulations with muscles, senses and nervous systems.
Each bit of organic life has been 'grown' from artificial embryos and given a string of random numbers representing its genome.
The virtual cells are built with simulated chemicals that make them react in different ways.
The scientists believe that tracking the evolution of these simulated creatures may show them how to construct real complex genomes.
So far none of the virtual charges have grown the equivalent of a brain, but the experts hope that "brain-like regions" could develop.
The team presented their work to the International Workshop on Biology Inspired Robotics at Hewlett Packard's labs in Bristol.
Geoengineering on the sea floor near glaciers would form a new ice shelf to prevent melting
Alterations in capillary blood flow can be caused by body position change
Curiosity rover is in 'normal mode' but not transmitting scientific data back to base
NatWest outage comes a day after Barclays' IT systems shut out customers and staff