The Phaserl


Scientists Fearful of ‘Ecological Risks’ Sparked by GMO Microalgae

by Julie Fidler, Natural Society:

Researchers at the University of California San Diego and Sapphire Energy have successfully grown genetically modified algae outdoors for the first time. They claim that the GM algae don’t harm native algae populations and, moreover, can fend off deadly bacteria. [1]

Genetically modifying algae makes them grow more quickly. Scientists believe the technology could allow the creation of algae that produce more oil, which can then be used to make biofuels or biodegradable plastics. The genetically engineered algae also have the potential to be made more nutritious, to feed livestock or people.

Stephen Mayfield, a biologist at UC San Diego and co-author of the study, says:

“Every single organism that we use today to produce the food, feed and fiber that we use is genetically modified. This is true for both plants and animals. We did that through the process of domestication, in which we selected the mutations — genetic modifications — that produced the traits we wanted. That might have been larger ears of corns, or bigger soybean seeds, or even cows that produced milk longer.” [1]

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