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E. coli-Fueled Planes?

Over at Big Think, Dominic Basulto contemplates what it would be like "if there were a way to generate cheap biofuels for the airline transportation industry via synthetic biology, essentially re-engineering E. coli bacteria so that they become a source of cheap, sustainable fuel." Synthetic biology researchers have "outlined plans for these synthetic life forms to change everything from energy to medicine to the environment," Basulto says, adding: "Imagine bacteria capable of curing cancerous tumors, doctors capable of 'growing' new organs for patients, trees capable of growing artificial leaves and E. coli bacteria capable of transforming sugar into diesel and jet fuel." The University of California, Berkeley's Jay Keasling "has already shown that it is possible to create alternatives to diesel and jet fuel using synthetic biology," Basulto says. He adds that since the aviation industry accounts for nearly 2 percent of global carbon emissions, "finding a way for airplanes to use low-cost biofuels created from scratch in laboratories around the nation may be a way to make our skies a little bit friendlier."

The Scan

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.

Study Highlights Pitfall of Large Gene Panels in Clinical Genomic Analysis

An analysis in Genetics in Medicine finds that as gene panels get larger, there is an increased chance of uncovering benign candidate variants.

Single-Cell Atlas of Drosophila Embryogenesis

A new paper in Science presents a single-cell atlas of fruit fly embryonic development over time.

Phage Cocktail Holds Promise for IBD

Researchers uncovered a combination phage therapy that targets Klebsiella pneumonia strains among individuals experiencing inflammatory bowel disease flare ups, as they report in Cell.