Definition of life

Mark D. Garfinkel garfinkl at
Thu Feb 10 14:07:52 EST 1994

In article <CL0r4M.6wt at>
lmarshal at (Larry Marshall) writes:
>We used to say the same thing about carbon-based nutrition until we
>found life forms that managed to survive and reproduce in a sulfur-based

	Forgive me for being flip, but what planet are YOU talking about?

	Seriously, though. There are a number of bacteria that use
ATP-generating schemes in which the *terminal* electron acceptor is
sulfur rather than oxygen, but these are *terrestrial* organisms whose
biochemistries are otherwise quite prosaic. They've got DNA, RNA,
protein, ribosomes, enzymes, polysaccharides, etc., etc. Compared
to the vast similarities between these bacteria and us, the fact that
they use sulfur as terminal electron acceptor is pretty insignificant.

Mark D. Garfinkel (e-mail: garfinkl at
My views are my own, which is why they're copyright 1994

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