Protocells: Bridging the nonliving and living matter is reviewed over at PLoS Biology by Antonio Lazcano. Here’s a small snippet:
As a number of contributors argue in the book Protocells: Bridging the nonliving and living matter (edited by Steen Rasmussen, Mark A. Bedau, Liaohai Chen, David Deamer, Norman H. Packard, and Peter F. Stadler), life on Earth may have descended from primordial globules formed in the primitive oceans. This thick volume collects papers by 31 authors that were presented at two different international workshops, in which theoretical and experimental models of protocells were analyzed in considerable detail. As summarized by molecular biologist Martin M. Hanczyc in the opening chapter, mesmerizing reports of lifelike behaviors by microscopic droplets of different compositions led Jerome Alexander, Stéphane Leduc, and Alfonso L. Herrera to the conclusion that physicochemical models of protoplasm might provide insights into the origin of life. Other scientists, like the Dutch biochemist Bungenberg de Jong, argued that the colloid properties of droplets, which he termed coacervates, formed by the spontaneous aggregation of biological macromolecules, could explain the properties of protoplasm.
Go read the whole thing, and then buy the book (as if you could resist).