Solé, R. V.

Cells define the minimal building blocks of life. How cellular life emerged and evolved implies to cross the boundary between living and nonliving matter. Here we explore this problem by presenting several relevant components of the whole picture involving chemistry, physics and natural selection. Available evidence suggests that the basic logic of life can be understood and eventually translated into synthetic forms of cellular life. A simple, physically sound model of information-free protocell replication suggests that the basic logic of how to couple metabolism and container can be more relevant than the specific set of parameters used, thus indicating that the emergence of cells might have been easier than we would expect. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.