Could aliens live on arsenic?

NASA astrobiologists recently reported the first microorganism on Earth able to live and thrive on arsenic instead of phosphorus. Phosphorus was previously considered essential for life, while arsenic is noted for its toxicity to living beings. A US synchrotron played a crucial role in the work.

Read the authors' response to criticisms:

Update: July 2012

Scientists say NASA's 'new arsenic form of life' was untrue.

Neanderthals grew up fast

Synchrotron studies of the teeth of Neanderthal children have added weight to the theory that Neanderthals reached adulthood faster than Homo sapiens.

Behind the scenes

Photographers have captured the backroom life and sights at CERN and other accelerator facilities around the world as part of a global competition

Egg meets sperm

Swedish researchers used synchrotron data to determine the 3D structure of a complete egg receptor that binds sperm at the beginning of fertilisation. The results, published in the journal Cell, will lead to a better understanding of infertility and may enable entirely new types of contraceptives.

This is NO killer revelation

Nitric oxide (NO) is a toxic pollutant, but the human body also creates it and uses it to attack invading microbes and parasites. A new synchrotron study by US and Japanese researchers shows how nitric oxide attacks an important group of proteins critical to cell survival.