Craig Venter Interviewed in Scientific AmericanCraig Venter Interviewed in Scientific American
November 16, 2011
n David Biello’s interview with Synthetic Genomics founder Craig Ventor, in the current Scientific American, the renowned geneticist makes his case for genetically adjusted algae as the logical future of biofuels.
“If we were trying to make liquid transportation fuels to replace all transportation fuels in the U.S. and you try and do that from corn it would take a facility three times the size of the continental U.S. If you try to do it from algae, it’s a facility roughly the size of the state of Maryland. One is doable and the other’s just absurd, but we don’t have an algae lobby.
“Everybody is looking for a naturally-occurring algae that is going to be a miracle cell to save the world and, after a century of looking, people still haven’t found it. We hope we’re different. The [genetic] tools give us a new approach: being able to rewrite the genetic code and get cells to do what we want them to do.
“Nothing new has to be invented. We just have to combine [genes] in a way that nature has not done before. We’re speeding up evolution by billions of years.
“I did [the human genome] in nine months. This is definitely a bigger challenge. It also has a lot bigger implications for the world if we’re successful.”