Moselio Schaechter of the Small Things Considered blog reviews the results of a recent paper "Microbial metalloproteomes are largely uncharacterized" from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, and ponders its implications.
"Now that news of the arsenic-eating bacteria has saturated cyberspace, the airwaves, and even old-fashioned newsprint, we step back to raise a larger question: Why have so few elements from the periodic table made it into living things? You seldom hear about anything past the first few rows in the table. Turns out this is a gross oversight. Many more elements, previously unsuspected, are to be found in a large number of metalloproteins. So, move over, arsenic and make room for other elements."