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Scientists create mutant bugs that produce crude oil, unleash swarm of merciless killers

Joshua Topolsky
June 16, 2008
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Like the beginning of every great science fiction movie, experts claim that they've discovered a cure for our fuel-dependency woes that only requires an army of genetically modified bacteria... that eat wheat straw and excrete crude oil. You read that right: scientists have created bugs which are able to snack on woodchips or sugar cane and produce waste in the form of easily malleable oil. Not only are the buggers capable of creating a byproduct which can quickly be refined into fuel for vehicles, but scientists say the process is carbon-negative -- it outputs less carbon than is required to produce it. Director of the project -- dubbed LS9 -- Greg Pal says that barrel prices could run as low as $50, and that the company plans to have a commercial facility producing the crude in 2011. And as for the potential threat of world-destroying attack from the mutant feeders? Says Pal, "We're putting these bacteria in a very isolated container: their entire universe is in that tank. When we're done with them, they're destroyed." Sure buddy -- but we're going to re-watch Them! just in case.

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