"The researchers, at the Scripps Research Institute, created molecules that self-replicate and even evolve and compete to win or lose. If that sounds exactly like life, read on to learn the controversial and thin distinction."
"Specifically, the researchers synthesized RNA enzymes thatcan replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely. "Immortalized" RNA, they call it, at least within the limited conditions of a laboratory.
"RNA is the close cousin to DNA. More accurately, RNA is thought to be a primitive ancestor of DNA. RNA can't run a life form on its own, but 4 billion years ago it might have been on the verge of creating life, just needing some chemical fix to make the leap. In today's world, RNA is dependent on DNA for performing its roles, which include coding for proteins." (2009)