A protocell is a synthetic form of cellular life that is constructed from phospholipid vesicles and used to understand the emergence of life from a nonliving chemical network. To be considered ‘living’, a protocell should be capable of self-proliferation, which includes successive growth and division processes. The growth of protocells can be achieved via vesicle fusion approaches. In this review, we provide a brief overview of recent research on the formation of a protocell, fusion and division processes of the protocell, and encapsulation of a defined chemical network such as the genetic material. We also provide some perspectives on the challenges and future developments of synthetic protocell research.

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