Technical Comments

Comment on “A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus”

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Science  27 May 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1201551


Wolfe-Simon et al. (Science Express Research Article, published online 2 December 2010; 10.1126/science.1197258) reported an apparent stimulatory effect of arsenic on the growth of bacteria isolated from Mono Lake, California, which they interpreted as evidence that the cells can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus. Alternatively, arsenic may have stimulated the bacterium’s high-affinity phosphorus assimilation pathway, which is active when phosphate levels are low.