Looking for a quick introduction to protocells and their importance for the origin of life? Read our Primer by postdoctoral fellow Yei-Chen Lai and Irene Chen, and take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s lyrical text. We’ll bet you’ll be compelled to revisit the original. Special thanks to artist Lilian McKinney for a beautiful graphic.

Lai Y-C and Chen IA. Protocells. Curr. Biol. 30, R451–R520.