How strange could alien life be?
indication that the fundamental elements that compose most terrestrial life forms
might differ out in the universe was found in unusual
Mono Lake in
Bacteria in Mono's lakebed gives
that it not only can tolerate a large abundance of normally toxic
but possibly use arsenic as a replacement for
an element needed by every other known Earth-based life form.
The result is surprising -- and perhaps controversial -- partly because arsenic-incorporating
organic molecules were thought to be much more fragile than phosphorous-incorporating organic molecules.
Pictured above is 7.5-km wide Mono Lake as seen from nearby Mount Dana.
The inset picture shows GFAJ-1, the unusual bacteria that might be able to
Inset: Jodi Switzer Blum