Arsenic is notoriously poisonous to almost all forms of life. But an organism found in the mud of California's Mono Lake can live and grow entirely off this deadly chemical -- raising hope that similar creatures could exist in even more hostile environments, far from planet Earth.
The new finding, announced Thursday morning by scientists at NASA-Ames and Menlo Park's U.S. Geological Survey, describes how a bacterium takes a startling detour from normal metabolism, swapping the common element phosphorus for toxic arsenic, and flourishes.
Full story from Los Angeles Times
NASA Astrobiology site