Work from the Otto-lab has resulted in a chemical system that shows different properties of life. Through oxidation, basic building blocks join to form rings of different sizes (left, middle and top). Eventually, rings of six building blocks (16) form stacks. These stacks grow, and multiply by breaking, leading to replication of the six-membered rings. When a photosensitive dye attaches to the stacks and is activated by light, it acts as a cofactor by increasing the oxidation of building blocks, which speeds up the production of new rings from which the replicator stacks grow.