"We’ve made more progress on how the membrane of a protocell could grow and divide," Szostak said in a phone interview. "What we can do now is copy a limited set of simple [genetic] sequences, but we need to be able to copy arbitrary sequences so that sequences could evolve that do something useful."
By doing “something useful” for the cell, these genes would launch the new form of life down the Darwinian evolutionary path similar to the one that our oldest living ancestors must have traveled. Though where selective pressure will lead the new form of life is impossible to know.
Forgive me (or don’t - fuck you) for sounding like a sore winner here, and I’m obviously being a bit premature, but the fact is the abiogenesis of life has been a feather in the cap of the ignorant for too long. It’s nice to see that the rationalists may soon be plucking that one for themselves.