Department of Arsenic  

Posted by Wayne Bretski

No Old Lace. (Sidenote: Love those old movie, ahem, picture trailers.)

"Scientists said Thursday that they had trained a bacterium to eat and grow on a diet of arsenic, in place of phosphorus — one of six elements considered essential for life — opening up the possibility that organisms could exist elsewhere in the universe or even here on Earth using biochemical powers we have not yet dared to dream about."
Wow, the New York Times reports.

Kottke comments. T. Cowen comments, with links.

*Another take: "Scientists have found a form of life that they claim bends the rules for life as we know it. But they didn’t need to go to another planet to find it. They just had to go to California."

Zing, Zimmer.

*The upshot, according to Ars Technica:
"The researchers’ discovery that bacteria can substitute phosphorus with arsenic in the backbone of DNA has significant implications for evolutionary chemistry and astrobiology, since it suggests that life won't necessarily be limited to the six elements it favors here on Earth."

*On the satire tip, Doyle Redland, of the Onion News Network, is here to tell us about concerned parents demanding that arsenic be removed from the periodic table.


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