Welcoming Our New Arsenic Based Overlords…

All hail the the prokaryotes!

So, it looks like the news has been leaked prior to NASA’s news conference. They’ve discovered  a new type of life form, a bacteria, that is based on arsenic. I hadn’t know this before (I did pretty well in my intro to biology class in college, but needless to say it glosses over quite a bit since it’s a survey class.), but apparently all life we’ve known of before is in part based on phosphorus. These new bacteria don’t have any phosphorus and instead use arsenic as one of their DNA building blocks.

The thing that makes this a little less exciting since everyone was speculating this new life might be extraterrestrial is that it was discovered in Mono Lake in California.

Still, this has huge implications for the search for life on other planets and their moons. We now have confirmation that life can use building blocks other than those known life to use. This opens up new possibilities and worlds that may be capable of supporting life (though maybe not us.)

Overall, pretty cool news… just not quite as cool as it could have been.

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