Thursday, December 2, 2010

My world is so small...

(from here)

...that I got laughably excited about the newly described bacteria that can utilize arsenic? It's called GFAJ-1 for now, and (sadly) I required Wikipedia to find the original article that went live today in the journal Science. Sadder still, I don't have access to the manuscript from home but from what I can tell - biology just sort of changed here people.

Not to be outdone, Nature has a nice story posted today on the same subject wherein they refer to GFAJ-1 as an "oddball" (probably jealous that Science got the exclusive). But basically, it looks as though arsenic might be taking the place of phosphorus in all of the important molecules: DNA, RNA, cell membranes and ATP. This is different from every other known living organism in the universe. Who wouldn't be excited about that?

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