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In the wake of controversy over the possible discovery of arsenic-eating life recently — a finding that could expand the bounds of what scientists think life is capable of — a basic question perhaps deserves revisiting:

Just what, exactly, is life?

"We don't have a very good definition of life," said researcher Christopher Voigt of the University of California, San Francisco, who works on synthetic biology. "It's a very abstract thing, what we call life, and at what point we say something doesn't have the necessary components versus it does, it just becomes way too murky."

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