The Sciences

Did Rosie Redfield just refute #arseniclife on her blog?

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerAug 3, 2011 1:24 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Rosie Redfield of the University of British Columbia has steadfastly raised doubts about the headline-grabbing news about arsenic-based life last November. (If neither arsenic life nor Rosie Redfield ring any bells for you, check out my two pieces for Slate, in December and June.) Redfield then did something exceptional: she set out to replicate the initial findings, getting the original bacteria and seeing whether they can build DNA from arsenic when deprived of phosphorus. And then she did something quite unique: she started to chronicle her experiences on her blog. It's a fascinating peek into the lab notebook of a practicing scientist. Today's post is especially intriguing: "First evidence refuting Wolfe-Simon et al.'s results" Among other things, Redfield reports that the bacteria seem to be able to grow at very low levels of phosphorus--levels that the original scientists claimed were too low to sustain the growth they saw. Of course, Redfield has a lot of work left to do. She will have to run this experiment to its bitter end, write up the results, submit a paper to a journal, get it past peer review, and publish it in a peer-reviewed journal. But we can all watch her journey in real time. [Update: Over on Google+, Richard van Noorden pointed me to a similar (if less headline-grabbing) live-blogged refutation in 2009.]

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.