I am currently reading a book that, I hope, will bring me up to date on the research concerning life from non-living materials. This research has been going on since 1867 when Traube demonstrated the spontaneous growth of a semipermeable membrane of copper ferrocyanide around a seed crystal of copper sulfate. No one suggested that these materials were involved in the formation of life as we know it, only that it demonstrated that macro molecules could self assemble. Today the scientists have demonstrated the self assembly of vesicles with varying permeability depending on the lipids that they are constructed of. A medium permeability allow some low molecular weight molecules to enter defects, but retains the high molecular weight molecules within the vesicle. Inside the vesicle, chemical reactions occur that result in complex molecules, and some have even self replicated for a few generations. This very simple, too simple really, explanation is my own from reading the first three chapter of 'Protocells. Bridging nonliving and living matter" This is from the MIT Press, and available from Amazon. Thus far, I have found it a slow but very interesting read.