Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Intelligent bacteria

Cool! A Japanese reseach group has engineered a super-bacteria that can "eat up" (aka degrade) dioxin two or three times faster than wild-type strains. This is good news: in case you weren't sure, dioxin is thought to be one of the most toxic groups of chemicals us humans have allowed to seep into the environment. Not only that, they bioaccumulate in humans and animals - which basically means that their concentrations increase in our bodies over time as we consume other organisms that also contain dioxin due to its pretty much ubiquitous exposure.

Funny that today I also saw an article from ENN talking about whether or not we should be studying biological system to inspire technological development. Obviously it worked for the Japanese group - but then again, they weren't studying worm brains or fish jaws, as some of the researchers who went to a conference in Atlanta were. Who knows whether those projects will be helpful in the long run!

Proponents of intelligent design think scientists are nuts if they think these complex systems developed by hit-and-miss but are worth reverse engineering.

I say, if it works, and gets us faster degradation of dioxin (or any other useful application, really) - who cares how the original system came to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well thought out comments. Too bad the politicians are deaf.