Nasa finds new life form on Earth
Washington - A new bacteria that can grow and incorporate arsenic into its DNA has been found in California, scientists said on Thursday, in a discovery that could expand the search for life on Earth and beyond.
"What is new here is arsenic is being used as a building block for the organism," explained Ariel Anbar, co-author of the study which appears in the journal Science.
"We have had this idea that life requires these six elements with no exceptions and here it turns out, well maybe there is an exception," he said.
The discovery was made by Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a Nasa astrobiology research fellow and former post-doctoral scientist in Anbar's research group at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration.
The bacteria was found in sediment scooped from Mono Lake, known for its high levels of salt and arsenic, in eastern California.