>> Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Escherichia coli, or E. coli as most know it, is bacteria that lives in our lower intestines. It exists in MOST warm blooded animals lower intestines, most strains are harmless (like the ones in our gut) but a few strains make us sick causing food poisoning. The ones that exist in our guts actually make vitamin K for us. On another down, E. Coli is responsible for 90% of all UTIs. Eww, I know. However, their metabolic cycle is so simple compared to ours that geneticists love them.
Knowing what we (collectively, because I didn't till a few hours ago) know about DNA synthesis, scientists can create short gene sequences and plug them into preexisting genomes. Some scientists did this with our lovely E. Coli and created a strain the litterally poops oil. One of my favorite scientists (who worked on the Human Genome) project did a talk about this recently.
I'm not too keen on this however, despite being a Craig fan, because I am of the belief that we need to move away from oil as an energy source and move to something cleaner. Also, I get a bit weirded out by creating life synthetically. So what do you all think?
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.