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Meet GFAJ-1, an otherworldly microbe that can grow on a legendary poison.

U.S. scientists are reporting the microbe, plucked from a California lake, can use arsenic to make proteins and other key molecules including DNA.

They say the arsenic operates as a substitute for phosphorus, long considered one of six essential elements of life.



The finding, which may have "profound evolutionary and geochemical significance," according to a report in the journal Science on Thursday, has the astrobiology world buzzing.

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Category: Science