A bacterium that can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus

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Life is mostly composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus. Although these six elements make up nucleic acids, proteins and lipids and thus the bulk of living matter, it is theoretically possible that some other elements in the periodic table could serve the same functions. Here we describe a bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae, isolated from Mono Lake, CA, which substitutes arsenic for phosphorus to sustain its growth. Our data show evidence for arsenate in macromolecules that normally contain phosphate, most notably nucleic acids and proteins. Exchange of one of the major bio-elements may have ... continued below

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Wolfe-Simon, F.; Blum, J. S.; Kulp, T. R.; Gordon, G. W.; Hoeft, S. E.; Pett-Ridge, J. et al. November 1, 2010.

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Life is mostly composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus. Although these six elements make up nucleic acids, proteins and lipids and thus the bulk of living matter, it is theoretically possible that some other elements in the periodic table could serve the same functions. Here we describe a bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae, isolated from Mono Lake, CA, which substitutes arsenic for phosphorus to sustain its growth. Our data show evidence for arsenate in macromolecules that normally contain phosphate, most notably nucleic acids and proteins. Exchange of one of the major bio-elements may have profound evolutionary and geochemical significance.

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PDF-file: 1 pages; size: 3 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Science , vol. 332, no. 6034, June 3, 2011, pp. 1163-1166; Journal Volume: 332; Journal Issue: 6034

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  • Report No.: LLNL-JRNL-461598
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1016932
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc832429

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • November 1, 2010

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • May 31, 2016, 2:28 p.m.

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Wolfe-Simon, F.; Blum, J. S.; Kulp, T. R.; Gordon, G. W.; Hoeft, S. E.; Pett-Ridge, J. et al. A bacterium that can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus, article, November 1, 2010; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc832429/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.