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The ultimate aim is to uncover the beginning of biology. Life is abundant around us - plants, microbes, larger animals. This was not the case on early Earth. What processes could allow non-living matter to create the evolutionary machinery of replication, mutation and selection? How could life establish itself so robustly? Even though life on earth likely emerged slowly over billions of years, discovering the combination of mechanisms that enable the emergence of self-reproduction and capacity to evolve in the lab may well be possible on human timescales.