"A new molecule that performs the essential function of life – self-replication – could shed light on the origin of all living things.If that wasn't enough, the laboratory-born ribonucleic acid (RNA) strand evolves in a test tube to double itself ever more swiftly. Obviously what we're trying to do is make a biology," says Gerald Joyce, a biochemist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He hopes to imbue his team's molecule with all the fundamental properties of life: self-replication, evolution, and function.
Further in the New Scientist article:
A life-mimicking molecule will also need to assemble itself from simpler components than two halves, says Michael Robertson, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.