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Fry Me Up A Juicy Algae Burger

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For years skeptics have worried about the risks of genetically modified foods – can these Frankenstein plants really be safe to eat? Are they suitable replacements for the products of sun and soil that have fed people for lifetimes?

Those are issues for skeptics to still consider, but now they have a new bit of science to get their panties in a bunch. Dr. J. Craig Venter, a scientist known for his work in genetics, is working on creating something from nothing. Venter and his company, Synthetic Genomics (SGI), are working toward creating living creatures – bacteria, algae, and the like.

Synthetic Genomics has been receiving money from all sorts of investors, but Big Oil has taken a special interest – Exxon (XOM) and BP (BP) are hoping Venter can design algae that can be used to produce gasoline and diesel fuel.

Unlike other companies, Venter isn’t modifying existing cells, but creating whole new ones. Venter is even toying with the idea of making algae that can be used a substitute for food. “What if we can make algae taste like beef?” Venter mused to the Times.

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