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Biomolecules 2012, 2(2), 282-287; doi:10.3390/biom2020282

From Phosphorous to Arsenic: Changing the Classic Paradigm for the Structure of Biomolecules

1
Department of Microbiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1052, USA
2
Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3
Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1052, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 April 2012 / Revised: 16 May 2012 / Accepted: 22 May 2012 / Published: 30 May 2012
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [140 KB, uploaded 30 May 2012]

Abstract

Biomolecules are composed primarily of the elements carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. The structured assembly of these elements forms the basis for proteins, nucleic acids and lipids. However, the recent discovery of a new bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae, has shaken the classic paradigms for the architecture of life. Mounting evidence supports the claim that these bacteria substitute arsenic for phosphorus in macromolecules. Herein, we provide a brief commentary and fuel the debate related to what may be a most unusual organism. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; GFAJ-1; biomolecules; scientific debate; elemental substitution arsenic; GFAJ-1; biomolecules; scientific debate; elemental substitution
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Knodle, R.; Agarwal, P.; Brown, M. From Phosphorous to Arsenic: Changing the Classic Paradigm for the Structure of Biomolecules. Biomolecules 2012, 2, 282-287.

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