Researchers have discovered a bacterium that can live and grow off arsenic, a new study reports. The findings point for the first time to a microorganism that is able to use a toxic chemical (rather than the usual phosphate) to sustain growth and life.
The study is being published online 2 December at the ScienceExpress Web site.
Policymakers should support efforts to predict and respond to public health challenges—from deadly heat waves to the spread of infectious bacteria—driven by global climate change, a panel of experts said at a AAAS briefing on Capitol Hill.
Some scientific tools are already in place to track disease outbreaks and natural disasters and their links to climate change, the researchers said, but the United States and other countries lack an organized approach that would use these tools to shape public health planning.