A new autocatalytic sets paper was just published in the Journal of Systems Chemistry. In this paper, co-authors Sousa, Hordijk, Steel, and Martin show that the metabolic network of E. coli forms an autocatalytic set. They also perform several analyses to investigate the robustness and modularity of this set. These results provide the first real (and formal) proof that living systems are indeed autocatalytic sets.
F. L. Sousa, W. Hordijk, M. Steel and W. F. Martin. Autocatalytic sets in E. coli metabolism. Journal of Systems Chemistry 6:4, 2015.