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Absence of Detectable Arsenate in DNA from Arsenate-Grown GFAJ-1 Cells

Science  27 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6093, pp. 470-473
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219861

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Abstract

A strain of Halomonas bacteria, GFAJ-1, has been claimed to be able to use arsenate as a nutrient when phosphate is limiting and to specifically incorporate arsenic into its DNA in place of phosphorus. However, we have found that arsenate does not contribute to growth of GFAJ-1 when phosphate is limiting and that DNA purified from cells grown with limiting phosphate and abundant arsenate does not exhibit the spontaneous hydrolysis expected of arsenate ester bonds. Furthermore, mass spectrometry showed that this DNA contains only trace amounts of free arsenate and no detectable covalently bound arsenate.

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