Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Discussion continues on arsenic-based bacteria at Mono Lake

The discovery of bacteria at Mono Lake that can incorporate arsenic into their DNA has generated a huge amount of interest–and scientific pushback. An article published this week takes a step back for an overview worth reading. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

Life on Earth is composed of a handful of essential elements from the periodic table. Recently, one group of researchers claimed that this ingredient list should be expanded, having found a bacteria that presumably switches poisonous arsenic in for phosphorous.

Other scientists are skeptical, but they still entertain the thought of switching the rules in the biochemistry playbook.

Read on!

Article courtesy of Astrobiology Magazine: Definition of life: Arsenic debate just won’t die