Monday, December 06, 2010

Arsenic-based life? Not so fast.

Everybody is abuzz with the discovery of a new study that claims to discover a bacteria that can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in its DNA backbone. There's lots of blog coverage of this research, much of it skeptical. If you only read one post about it, I would recommend this one from We Besties. It does a great job of looking at the paper and the experiments from a chemistry standpoint in an easy to understand way. The bottom line seems to be that there are some key experiments needed to be done before we jump the gun on declaring the discovery of alternative biochemistry.


Kamel said...

This one is excellent as well.

rob said...

Perhaps the reviewers were all biologists and not chemists. It does seems quite strange that there are so many unanswered questions that the science itself looks bad.