In December 2010, a published article related to the discovery of arsenic-based DNA in a particular strain of bacteria, gave rise to a lot of hype and in many cases, overstated deductions. Although many seem to concur with the conclusions which this research put forward, others have found the procedure used, unreliable and flawed. Such research and discoveries are of utmost importance since they provide better understanding of life, yet the more profound and thorough the research is, the more accurate the results are. For many, myslef included, this was not the case as regards Wolfe-Simon's work, as much improved methods of purification and analysis could have been applied so as to support her claims with fully-fledged results.
First of all, there seem to be a lot of issues which do not support this hypothesis, such as the instability of arsenic compounds. However, the possibility of such conclusion being correct should not be omitted.
One main concern which does not support arsenic DNA is that arsenate diesters do not seem to have similar stability properties as phosphate diesters (Westheimer, 1987). In fact, arsenate diesters are noted to be completely hydrolysed in a short matter of time, unlike diesters of phosphate. This makes it difficult to be incorporated into the DNA of bacteria living in water. On the other hand, the uncatalysed hydrolysis of phosphate diester is seemingly endless. This makes it more probable for phosphate to be incorporated within biomolecules since unlike arsenate compounds; it allows any biological pathways and processes to progress uninterrupted (Fekry, Tipton, P.A. & Gates, 2011).
The possibility of compounds which stabilise the arsenic DNA has not been ruled out and as such further study should be made so as to account accurately for this prospect. As a matter of fact it is realised that there...