Microb 2: Electric Buggaloo


geobacterScientists in a Massachusetts college have discovered that by genetically engineering Geobacter- which produces electricity- they can generate more power.

(For the record, no good can come from this...)

dr-hana-yi tweaking the GeobacterScientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have been helpin' Nature's little batteries 'evolve' if you will, and found out what seems to be good news on the surface.  Turns out that a few genetic tweaks here and there and these little buggers are capable of producing more electricity in less time.  And what's better, they seem to have taken well to the evolution via lab process.

In the August issue of the journal Biosensors & Bioelectronics, UMass researcher Derek Lovley said :

 "This new study shows that output can be boosted and it gives us good insights into what it will take to genetically select a higher-power organism...  In very short order we increased the power output by eight-fold, as a conservative estimate.  With this, we've broken through the plateau in power production that's been holding us back in recent years."

In short, freedom from foreign oil is going to be found in mud puddles and bogs.

But let's just hold off on that ticker tape parade for just one second...

If movies have taught us anything, they have taught us that nothing good can ever come from scientists playing God.  And if we have learned anything from clichés, we have learned that the Road to Hell is paved in good intentions.

emperorDoes freeing humanity from the death grip of fossil fuels ultimately end with Jeff Goldbloom in the gas powered jeep being chased by a gigantic genetically engineered Geobacter (brought to us by the well meaning work of Dr. Lovley and his miracle workers?

Only time will tell if this is the beginnings of oil independence or is this is the first trumpet in the symphony of destruction so long ago predicted by wise men.  But for now, let those fears be quelled by the thought of mud powered cars and a world no longer tied to the ancient blood feuds of the Middle East.


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