Donnerstag, 9. Dezember 2010

PR vs. Nature vs. NASA vs. new life forms

The press echo was huge. Catched me by surprise as well. Sounds interesting. A bacteria that can go without phosphor.

Turns out this is only half of the story. Many scientists critizised the paper and the main point of the paper seems to be not well proven. The bacteria most likely used phosphor during the experiments. The used soil was simply contaminated.

But: Nobody knows for sure as long as there are no reproductions.

Derek Lowe writes an excellent article about it:

And Rosie Redfield sums it up:

If this data was presented by a PhD student at their committee meeting, I'd send them back to the bench to do more cleanup and controls.

The original paper:
Wolfe-Simon F, Blum JS, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC, Anbar AD, & Oremland RS (2010). A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.) PMID: 21127214

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