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2 December 2010

NASA Scientists Find Microbes with Arsenic DNA

NASA astrobiologists have found bacteria living in Mono Lake, CA that use arsenic rather than phosphorus as the backbone of it’s DNA and other biomolecules like ATP.

This is a pretty big deal! Until now, everyone thought that life required the elements C,H,N,O,P,S to survive, but the Mono Lake bacteria laugh in the face of that idea and use something typically though of as a deadly poison as a fundamental building block. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, the lead author of the study summed things up nicely when she said that “It has solved the challenge of being alive in a very different way.”

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