First watch the video. A nanobot a tenth the size of a ribosome does a ribosome's job, making a peptide. Living things haven't exploited all the pathways to make life.
Reporting on Professor Leigh's work at the University of Manchester:
Nature has evolved a partial system of molecular manufacturing... not capable of making arbitrarily complex, atomically precise structures that faithfully represent the immense diversity of chemically feasible structures.
(The researchers) have succeeded in mimicking this basic process using a simple artificial molecular machine bearing no resemblance to the ribosome and an order of magnitude smaller in linear dimension than the ribosome.
"The ribosome can put together 20 building blocks a second until up to 150 are linked. So far we have only used our machine to link together 4 blocks and it takes 12 hours to connect each block. But you can massively parallel the assembly process: We are already using a million million million of these machines working in parallel in the laboratory to build molecules".Reported in foresight.org reprinting material from the University of Manchester. h/t Instapundit.