Custom «Felisa Wolfe-Simon» Essay Paper Sample

Felisa Wolfe-Simon

In 2010 Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her team after a long series of research published an article on their discovery that bacteria could substitute arsenic for phosphorous that existed in its bio-molecules in carrying out crucial cell processes. The bio-molecules included DNA. However, a group of scientist criticized the discovery by the Wolfe-Simon research team. They embarked on a series of researches to refute it. The leader of this group of scientists was Rosie Redfield of University of British Columbia. In 2010 after a series of researches she posted data online that nullified the findings made by Wolfe-Simon on arsenic-based life. This clearly awakened a huge response from the science community. Therefore, this essay aims at debunking how arsenic-based life is important to science and the society. 

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Importance of Arsenic-Based Life to Science

It is clear that all living things need chemicals such as carbon, phosphorous and oxygen among others to manufacture vital molecules such as lipids and amino acids. These elements are essential for life. The dependency of living things on these elements for survival prompted researchers to investigate whether they could substitute these elements with newer ones. To meet this goal, Wolfe-Simon and her team took a sample of a microbe from Mono Lake. They named the bacteria GFAJ-1. It is well-known that Mono Lake is rich in carbonates, phosphates, arsenic and sulphur. They cultured the bacteria to meet the desired results by starving it the vital life-sustaining life building block element of phosphate. In its place they fed the bacteria with arsenate.

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The findings made by the team were astounding. This is because substituting phosphorous with arsenic in building life-sustaining blocks was great news to the astro-biologists .This is because it had expanded their research base on finding life beyond earth. These findings had greatly cemented their claim that life can exist when the six paramount elements of life sustenance: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur are absent. However, the microbes tested grew much slower and were smaller than those in those in the Mono lake control colony. However this observation did not refute the overall conclusion that their atoms that affectively substituted the use phosphorous atoms in building the life-sustaining molecules with arsenate atoms.

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This experiment demonstrated to the science fraternity that the microbes understudy had effectively substituted arsenic for phosphorus in forming of stable molecular structures that are vital in sustaining life in all living things on earth. This finding negated the societal norm in which arsenic is often used as poison. This is because it is more reactive than phosphorous despite being chemically similar. Therefore, its use in forming life-sustaining molecules in living things is hazardous. This is because it forms unstable molecules. These molecules do not function properly in the body so resulting in the death of the cells. However, the microbe under study by the Wolfe-Simon research team was able to stabilize the arsenic reactivity rates. As a result it had used it effectively to form molecular bonds that sustained it life in the harsh living conditions subjected to it during the research. This discovery had paved way for more research on whether the evolved microbes could transfer their newly acquired adaption to their living habitats in Mono Lake.

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It is clear that the arsenic-base life aftermath had acted as pathway to a new scientific quest that would either refute or prove the findings made by Wolfe-Simon and her team on GFAJ-1 ability to substitute phosphate with arsenate in forming life-sustaining molecules in living things. Therefore, it is prudent to end this essay by claiming it has demystified that arsenic-life base researches are important to science and the society at large. This is because the tests made had confirmed that life-sustaining mechanisms that would use arsenic instead of the traditional elements known to the entire world to exist.

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