Researchers report that they've found a strain of bacteria that can swap arsenic for the element phosphorus in its metabolism -- even incorporating arsenic into its DNA. Writing this week in the journal Science, the scientists describe the bacteria harvested from the highly saline, arsenic-containing waters of Moro Lake, California. In lab experiments the researchers were able to culture the bacteria in growth media, swapping phosphorus-containing salts for ones containing arsenic. Over time, the bacteria incorporated arsenic compounds into their cellular makeup, even in nucleic acids and proteins. We'll talk about the find, and what it might mean for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer