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Showing posts from February, 2010

Concept Discussion: How Directed Evolution will Save the World


In my previous posts, I have talked about ways of using different microorganisms to produce different things that are of use to humans. Two specific examples were diesel from fungi, or oils from algae. There are many other examples, some of which I hope to cover in my future posts. At the current time, the main challenge to many of these by-products is that they are not produced at efficiencies and quantities that allow for economical use.

So how would you make fungi produce more biodiesel? How would you make the breakdown of cellulose happen faster? How do you increase oil production in algae?

Although each of these questions, involves a deep understanding of complex cellular networks, at the base of each of these problems is a protein that carries out a given task. Increasing efficiencies of these proteins can help to increase the yields of the desire products.

Today, we will look at one way, how proteins can be "engineered" by asking:

What is Directed Evolutio…