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Christoph Weigel

In case you read 'A New Game for a New Year' and the comments in 2013 there is a follow-up for you here.
Basturea et al. asked whether the experiments performed by Wolfe-Simon et al. on their isolate GFAJ-1 could be reproduced with a lab strain of E. coli and the answer was: yes. In the authors own words: "Thus, although we agree with the experimental observations of Wolfe-Simon et al., we disagree with their interpretation of the data based on our following observations: (a) arsenate induces massive ribosome degradation, thereby providing a source of phosphate; and (b) placing cells in medium containing arsenate leads to a population of cells that are arsenate-tolerant and can grow in 40 mM arsenate." Apparently it is possible to take to pieces the work of colleagues and then summarize it in an absolutely fair manner. Thus ended the story of the 'arsenic bacteria' and there is no need to re-write the textbooks.

Basturea GN, Harris TK, Deutscher MP (2012). Growth of a bacterium that apparently uses arsenic instead of phosphorus is a consequence of massive ribosome breakdown. J Biol Chem, 287, 28816-28819 PMID: 22798070

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