Science

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Genetics Researcher Suggests Making Fuel from Artificial DNA

April 30, 2008 09:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A genetics research pioneer wants to create synthetic fuel using artificial DNA, claiming it could help save the environment.

30-Second Summary

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J. Craig Venter, one of the pioneers in genetic research, is now one of several scientists leading the way to create synthetic fuel from artificial DNA.

In synthetic biology, which is a relatively new field, scientists build DNA “from scratch.”

The field, as approached by Venter and his colleagues, “involves stripping microbes down to their basic genetic constituents so they can be reassembled and manipulated to create new life forms.”

The technology excites researchers because they may be able to use it to create new fuel sources.

Scientists could take natural elements like plant biomass, carbon dioxide or even sugar cane, and turn them into renewable energy.

The idea makes sense, says MSN Money, because “fossil fuels are nothing more than stored sunshine in the form of decayed biomatter that’s been cooked and compressed into an easily accessed energy source.”

Industrial sociologist Jim Williams, of the Williams Inference Center in Massachusetts, says it’s not a matter of “whether synthetic biology will remake society but who will be in control when it does.”

Headline Link: “Genomics: Our oil-crunch cure?”

Key Player: J. Craig Venter

Opinions: Considering the consequences of synthetic biology

Reference: Synthetic genomics

Related: Examining alternative fuels

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