Nature: Ribosomes are the molecular machines that translate RNA into proteins. A nanomachine created by Dave Leigh of the University of Manchester, UK, and his colleagues possesses a very simplified version of that ability. The nanomachine is preloaded with a sequence of amino acids and, when heated, sequentially combines the amino acids to form short proteins called peptides. Although the system is much less efficient than real ribosomes, it is evidence that nanomachines can be used to create biochemicals. This is a significant step forward from the two-century-old process of chemical synthesis through repeated refinement and combination. The research team hopes that the next step with their molecular machine will be to design it so that it can “reload” itself with more amino acids to repeat the process. Making the process repeatable and finding ways to accelerate the peptide construction will be the first steps in developing a useful replacement for traditional laboratory chemical synthesis.