Did nature also choose arsenic ?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
: All known life requires phosphorus (P) in the form of inorganic phosphate (PO43x or Pi) and phosphate-containing organic molecules. Pi serves as the backbone of the nucleic acids that constitute genetic material and as the major repository of chemical energy for metabolism in polyphosphate bonds. Arsenic (As) lies directly below P on the periodic table and so the two elements share many chemical properties, although their chemistries are sufficiently dissimilar that As cannot directly replace P in modern biochemistry. Arsenic is toxic because As and P are similar enough that organisms attempt this substitution. We hypothesize that ancient biochemical systems, analogous to but distinct from those known today, could have utilized arsenate in the equivalent biological role as phosphate. Organisms utilizing such ‘ weird life ’ biochemical pathways may have supported a ‘ shadow biosphere ’ at the time of the origin and early evolution of life on Earth or on other planets. Such organisms may even persist on Earth today, undetected, in unusual niches.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Emily C. Parke (2013). What Could Arsenic Bacteria Teach Us About Life? Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):205-218.
Similar books and articles
Josef Berger (1976). The Genetic Code and the Origin of Life. Acta Biotheoretica 25 (4):259-263.
Gernot Falkner, Ferdinand Wagner & Renate Falkner (1996). The Bioenergetic Coordination of a Complex Biological System is Revealed by its Adaptation to Changing Environmental Conditions. Acta Biotheoretica 44 (3-4):283-299.
Tadeusz Szuba (2002). Was There Collective Intelligence Before Life on Earth? Considerations on the Formal Foundations of Intelligence, Life, and Evolution. World Futures 58 (1):61 – 80.
Carol E. Cleland (2007). Epistemological Issues in the Study of Microbial Life: Alternative Terran Biospheres? Stud. Hist. Phil. Biol. And Biomed. Sci 38 (4):847-61.
Dane Rudhyar (1982). The Magic of Tone and the Art of Music. Distributed in the United States by Random House.
Added to index2009-11-05
Total downloads23 ( #166,097 of 1,906,923 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #345,620 of 1,906,923 )
How can I increase my downloads?