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Web Date: December 2, 2010

Microbe Thrives On Arsenic

Discovery indicates that more than six elements might be able to sustain life
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: arsenic, astrochemistry, origin of life, evolution, geochemistry

Five years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey's Ronald S. Oremland discovered a microbe that can generate energy from arsenic. Now, Oremland has helped a team led by Felisa Wolfe-Simon of the NASA Astrobiology Institute uncover a bacterium that can grow in the presence of either arsenic or phosphorus (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1197258).

Living things are largely made of six elements: carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. But some scientists searching for life on . . .

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Chemical & Engineering News
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