The Loom

This is the sort of thing that made me decide to write a whole book about these bugs…

LS9 Inc., a company in San Carlos, Calif., is already using E. coli bacteria that have been reprogrammed with synthetic DNA to produce a fuel alternative from a diet of corn syrup and sugar cane. So efficient are the bugs’ synthetic metabolisms that LS9 predicts it will be able to sell the fuel for just $1.25 a gallon.

Synthetic DNA on the Brink of Yielding New Life Forms –


  1. #1 john dennehy
    December 17, 2007

    Is that a double-negative?

    Nice link though! I’ve also pre-ordered the book :)

  2. #2 Dave Briggs
    December 18, 2007

    From the article:The plan is to mass-produce a plain genetic platform able to direct the basic functions of life, then attach custom-designed DNA modules that can compel cells to make synthetic fuels or other products.

    I think this is great! They said it would be cheaper than the alternatives now known to get the microbe world working for us for minimum wage!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  3. #3 Jonathan Eisen
    December 22, 2007

    Alas, there are in fact many things E. coli cannot (yet) do. Like grow at very high temperatures. But here is a question for you — when they introduce genes into E. coli to make it carry out new reactions, at what point do we stop calling it E. coli and call it something else?