Biotech turns plant waste into gasoline

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pharmtao
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Biotech turns plant waste into gasoline
Ivan Delgado
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Very interesting article. If the technology is as good as they claim it would definitely be a great source of alternative fuel. I only have one concern about this article. It ends with the following sentence: "labs can now design a piece of DNA on a computer, email it to a DNA synthesis company and have the actual DNA mailed to them in a matter of weeks". While this sentence is technically correct, it has no contextual meaning. First of, we have been able to do just that for decades (call them "primers") so this has nothing to do with this story. As for getting full genes synthesized, we've been able to order those too for years. The author I believe was trying to make a connection between the ability to synthesize DNA and the creation of microbes that will be able to synthesize these new fuels. Anyone that understand the complexity of doing something like this can appreciate how loose this connection is. The problem with ending the article with this sentence is that it dilutes the story to the point where it makes me doubt any claim made by the article. If all you are saying is that we can synthesize DNA, a painfully obvious fact, then I really can't help but doubt every claim in the article, including the fact that we will be seeing these fuels in a matter of 3 years, or that scientists that tried to identify enzymes to digest biomass had "failed completely".
I believe in the technology; not very impressed by the author of the article.