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Genetically modified bacteria to produce oil?

Posted on Sunday, March 16 2008 @ 03:15:43 CET by

Craig Venter claims he and a group of scientists are on the verge of creating new bacterial life. Venter says this technology could be used to create bacteria that consume CO2 and produce crude oil. I doubt these oil-pooping bacteria will be ready anytime soon but if successful this technology could help us to switch from fossil fuel to renewable carbon-neutral oil.
He builds chromosomes from scratch, inserts the new chromosomes in bacteria, and then "boots up" the organisms.

The DNA he produces in his laboratory are the largest molecules ever created by people and he can individually determine what DNA to include and which to exclude. He can put in junk DNA that, when decoded, simply spells his own name, or is a poem. But, most importantly, he's working to build in code that can force the little bugs into becoming solar-powered crude oil factories.

The new organisms, which Venter says should be multiplying in the lab in the next 18 months, would need high concentrations of CO2 (say, from the smokestack of a coal plant) to convert it to oil at maximum efficiencies. He can alter the octane of the fuel by altering the genes of the organism and, by selecting the best of thousands of molecules, he can "unnaturally select" the most efficient oil producers.

More info at Ecogeek.



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