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China to Use Microbial Genomics for Oil Extraction

NEW YORK, March 24 - China's Ministry of Science and Technology has launched a program to study microbial genomics with the goal of improving organisms for oil extraction, according to a Saturday report from China's People's Daily.


According to the report, a ministry official said China could extract from six to ten percent more oil from its reserves if the program succeeds. The ministry expects the program to be completed between 2005 and 2010.


So far, researchers in the project have begun sequencing the genomes of two species of microbes that are able to metabolize heavy components and other impurities in the oil while producing gas that propels the oil out of the earth to ease extraction.

China imported 69.4 million tons of crude oil last year, according to the paper.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.