Here is more information about Thursday’s announcement. Something to do with arsenic versus phosphorus.   Are there any biology people willing to educate us on the differences between the two as far as building organism?

Here are some fun facts: I don’t know what the solar abundance of As is, but the chondritic abundance is roughly 2.29 (from a table in Asplund et al (2006) which shows H solar as 12 and H chondritic as 8.25). The P solar abundance is 5.36 and P chondritic abundance is 5.4. I mention these so you can get an idea of the general P to As abundances before moving to tables 10.2 and 10.3 in in the attached excerpt from Scharf’s “Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology.” There he does a comparison of P solar, animal, and lithosphere abundances. Does anyone have numbers like this for As? I have a whole series of questions flowering in my mind about how As could end up being used instead of P (abundance-related?) and the trade-offs that come with that. Anybody interested in tackling this in next week’s meeting (Monday, Dec 6th @ noon—free lunch!)?