BIO Web of Conferences
Volume 2, 2014EPOV 2012: From Planets to Life – Colloquium of the CNRS Interdisciplinary Initiative “Planetary Environments and Origins of Life”
|Number of page(s)||2|
|Section||Bricks of life and pre-biotic chemistry|
|Published online||18 February 2014|
About the presence of arsenic in prebiotic species
Laboratoire de Chimie Théorique, UPMC (Univ. Paris VI), UMR-CNRS, 7616, France
The recent publication that some bacteria could use arsenic instead of phosphorus for building their DNA triggered a large controversy in the astro/exobiology community. Most comments claim that such a substitution is not possible. Here, we address the same question of the presence of As in DNA from a pure theoretical point of view, beyond any biological consideration. By means of “First principle“ quantum calculations we found that there is no energetical or structural argument to reject the As to P substitution in the DNA helix. However, a topological analysis of the electron density shows that As-DNA is much more fragile and most probably will not survive because it lacks the covalent bonds that insure the stability of biological P-DNA.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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