In this TED talk, chemist Lee Cronin asks what is the minimum unit of matter that can undergo Darwinian evolution? The answer is, in fact, a single cell.
Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead “stuff.” How improbable is it that life arose? And — could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life—anything that can evolve—Cronin explores this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a “Lego kit” of inorganic molecules — no carbon — that can assemble, replicate and compete.