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Synthetic life, defined as life that did not arise from preexisting life, spontaneously emerged when the first cell-like structures assembled from mixtures of organic molecules on the early Earth. These structures, referred to as protocells, exhibited certain properties of living systems and represented evolutionary steps toward the first forms of cellular life. 

Driven by the forces of natural selection, those first cells evolved into the biosphere we inhabit today. In my talk I will describe how we can learn about the origin of life by fabricating protocells in the laboratory. 


Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SHHfnIHXQI