Scientists at the University of California San Diego and Sapphire Energy have successfully completed the first outdoor field trial sanctioned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for genetically engineered algae.
In a series of experiments funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the researchers tested a genetically engineered strain of algae in outdoor ponds under real-world conditions. As reported in the journal Algal Research, the researchers conclude that genetically engineered algae can be successfully cultivated outdoors while maintaining engineered traits, and, most importantly, without adversely impacting native algae populations.
“Just as agricultural experts for decades have used targeted genetic engineering to produce robust food crops that provide human food security, this study is the first step to demonstrate that we can do the same with genetically engineered algae,” said Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology and an algae geneticist at UC San Diego.
…[T]he scientists cultured strains of the algae species Acutodesmus dimorphus—genetically engineered with genes for fatty acid biosynthesis and green fluorescent protein expression….
[Read the full study here (behind paywall).]
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