Saturday, December 4, 2010

Arsenic Possible Phosphorus Replacement in DNA

A team looking at organisms grown in harsh environments such as Lake Mono released new findings about a bacterium that has utilized arsenic in place of phosphorus. Rachel Ehrenburg of Science News reviews the findings. You can find information about these findings at

The news media is really exploring questions about how this may impact our belief that life may be able to exist on other plants with harsh environments. Currently there are a few research projects out there that have made heads turn such as the bio engineered Mycoplasma genitalium. "ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2008) — A team of 17 researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) has created the largest man-made DNA structure by synthesizing and assembling the 582,970 base pair genome of a bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0. This work, published online today in the journal Science by Dan Gibson, Ph.D., et al, is the second of three key steps toward the team’s goal of creating a fully synthetic organism. In the next step, which is ongoing at the JCVI, the team will attempt to create a living bacterial cell based entirely on the synthetically made genome."
Questions that I am contemplating:
 Is the bacterium found in mono lake replacing the phosphate with Arsenic? If the answer is yes then would it be possible to create a man made bacteria using Arsenic in place of the phosphate within in the DNA?