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Blogs under tag Gene Modification

Genetic modification saves energy Posted by Krupali on Mon July 05 2010 11:37:44 PM 1

Researchers at Arizona State University have found a way to harvest oil from cyanobacteria, the photosynthesizing blue-green algae. After being reprogrammed, the cyanobacteria act like miniature biofuel factories, continuously leaking fatty acid oil through their cell walls.

The oil separates from the bacteria and becomes a floating, whitish residue. Researchers induced the microbes to focus purely on survival and fat production, which caused a threefold increase in fatty acid oil yield. The modified cyanobacteria produce more energy than other biofuels, such as corn, and require only the sun for its own energy needs.

Because microbes don't need to be grown in fields, large swaths of valuable cropland currently devoted to biofuel production could be reserved for food production.

Genetically modified (GM) plants and animals often raise fears of safety, ownership and long-term impact on the environment and human health, all of which should be considered.

We have been modifying our foods and animals for centuries through selective breeding, but now we can quickly, fundamentally alter them by precisely manipulating, splicing and removing their genetic data. Without the security net of centuries of trial-and-error, any mistakes may quickly spread through a population and cause further damage through a loss of genetic diversity.