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My second pick from the science scandals of 2011

By Tim Sandle
Posted Dec 24, 2011 in Science
Following on from my earlier blog post, there is a second 'science scandal' from 2011 which caught my eye. This one concerns claims about bacteria. This story was also highlighted by The Scientist magazine.
This story is about research which attempted to turn the established 'carbon based life' fact on its head. Here is it is:
Arsenic-based life
In late 2010, NASA researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon and colleagues reportedly uncovered a species of bacteria in Mono Lake that not only survived in unusually high levels of arsenic and low levels of phosphorus, but also appeared to incorporate arsenic into its DNA backbone. However, critics were soon questioning the results, citing poor DNA extraction techniques and a supposedly phosphate-free growth medium which actually did contain phosphate. Science published 8 technical comments about the work in May, though the paper, which has been cited 26 times, has yet to be retracted.
I'd be interested to know if readers have come across any other suspect research or wild claims.

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