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    #1

    What does "sported" mean here?

    And does "where" refer to "Mono Lake, California"?

    Context:

    MOST scientific research is about incremental improvements to existing theories. Every so often, though, an anomaly shakes things up, offering upstart ideas the chance to dislodge reigning ones. In December 2010 NASA, America's space agency, announced a discovery which would, if confirmed, engender just such a shift. Their paper, published in Science, reported the isolation of a new species of bacterium. Where DNA of all known organisms is built on a backbone of phosphates, derived from phosphorus, GFAJ-1, as the microbe NASA's boffins found in Mono Lake, California, is known, instead sported arsenates, chemical compounds based on arsenic. Since arsenic is toxic to other lifeforms, that would make the microbe different from anything else found on Earth.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    No. "where" here refers to the fact that. Read it this way - The fact that DNA of all known organisms...
    This is interesting. Mono Lake has always been an odd body of water and is well known for the other-worldly appearance it has.

    Surely not...? I can't make any sense of the sentence with that substitution, unless something else is added. "In contrast to the fact that,,,' perhaps. I'd've said 'while' or 'whereas'.

    Back at the OP: I have no idea what 'sported' means here. It looks as though the writer first put 'had', and was misled by a dictionary of synonyms! One sports a striking piece of clothing, or a new haircut. (It might be a technical term used in microbiology, but I doubt it.)

    b

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    #3

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    "Whereas" would have been my suggestion for a substitution. In fact, I thought I had posted that comment hours ago but only now realise that it didn't register.

    Whereas the DNA of all known organisms is ..., the DNA of GFAJ-1 is ...
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    No. "where" here refers to the fact that. Read it this way - The fact that DNA of all known organisms...
    This is interesting. Mono Lake has always been an odd body of water and is well known for the other-worldly appearance it has.
    Thank you!

    The structure "GFAJ-1, as the microbe NASA's boffins found in Mono Lake, California, is known, instead sported arsenates, chemical compounds based on arsenic" is also not very clear to me.
    It seems to say:
    GFAJ-1 (the microbe NASA's boffins found in Mono Lake, California) is instead built on a backbone of arsenates.

    Well, "is known, chemical compounds based on arsenic" seems redundant, not understandable.

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    #5

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewHopeR View Post
    Thank you!

    The structure "GFAJ-1, as the microbe NASA's boffins found in Mono Lake, California, is known, instead sported arsenates, chemical compounds based on arsenic" is also not very clear to me.
    It seems to say:
    GFAJ-1 (the microbe NASA's boffins found in Mono Lake, California) is instead built on a backbone of arsenates.

    Well, "is known, chemical compounds based on arsenic" seems redundant, not understandable.
    I think some of the confusion stems from the two commas around California, the second one of which appears to separate "is known" from the part of the sentence it relates to. Does it make more sense to you as:

    GFAJ-1 (as the microbe the boffins found in Mono Lake is known) instead sported arsenates ...

    Arsenates are chemical compounds based on arsenic. The piece is simply giving the definition of an arsenate to help anyone who didn't know that (like me!)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I think some of the confusion stems from the two commas around California, the second one of which appears to separate "is known" from the part of the sentence it relates to. Does it make more sense to you as:

    GFAJ-1 (as the microbe the boffins found in Mono Lake is known) instead sported arsenates ...
    Thanks.
    Now it turns out to be the word "sported" that makes me confused. What does "sported"mean? In the sentence above, it serves as the predicative verb.

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    #7

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    Where DNA of all known organisms is built on a backbone of phosphates, derived from phosphorus, GFAJ-1, as the microbe NASA's boffins found in Mono Lake, California, is known, instead sported arsenates, chemical compounds based on arsenic. Since arsenic is toxic to other lifeforms, that would make the microbe different from anything else found on Earth.

    As BobK says, "to sport" something usually means to wear or have something about your person that is distinctive or eye-catching in some way. A new hat, haircut, tie etc: "She went to the wedding sporting a brand new red hat". So the term seems a little out of place in this context, but the writer may want to make the point that the characteristic of the microbe being referred to is in fact quite eye-catching to a scientist, perhaps as noticeable as a bright new hat.

    not a teacher

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    #8

    Re: What does "sported" mean here?

    :up Another (remote) possibility is a verb based on the noun 'sport', used in the world of botany (a shoot growing from the rootstock of a grafted plant), bit I doubt it.

    b

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