Vitamin Strange
Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009
The story we'd like to draw your attention to with this post comes across a bit as mad science gone good -- Philadelphia researchers are altering E. coli in order to create vitamin A. Here are some cool bits from the Philly Inquirer:
The goal is to provide a low-cost supply of the vitamin to the developing world, where deficiencies of that nutrient cause widespread blindness and even death. The early-stage project, in which Anthony's lab has made one strain of the bug with an eye-catching shade of carroty-orange, is part of a fast-growing field called synthetic biology.

So, a strange combo of things, for sure. Using E. coli, something we generally associate with rather dramatic illness, to create vitamin A, a nutrient which is generally an afterthought for most people living in the developed world. Here's another great quote from the lead researcher on the project, biologist Jennifer Anthony: "We could potentially ask these bacteria to make anything, if we could find the genes for the pathway and put it in." Cool and fun science, check it out here: Finally, something good about E. coli.

To learn more about vitamin A, please have a look at the following page: DSIB Vitamin A

 

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