Friday, December 17, 2010

Backing off an arsenic-eating claim

Between the bias and manipulated "Global Warming" crusade and this, the once great and respected NASA has become a largely diminished caricature of itself.
Amid a flurry of criticism, a NASA-funded team on Thursday backed off the more extravagant, textbook-changing claims they'd made about a bacterium that had allegedly substituted arsenic for phosphorus in its DNA.

The original announcement, made at a NASA news conference Dec. 2, seemed to break a cardinal rule of biology that all organisms need some phosphorus to survive. NASA researchers claimed to have discovered an exotic organism in California's Mono Lake that lived instead on arsenic, thus broadening the types of life that may exist in the universe.

The news made headlines worldwide including a New York Times story that ran in The Inquirer on Dec. 3.

On Thursday, the researchers issued a more modest claim. Instead of saying the microbes had completely substituted arsenic for phosphorus, a new statement says the arsenic replaced "a small percentage" of the phosphorus.

A number of biologists say they'll be surprised if even this stands the test of time.

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