Science News Focus Article Features DOE Bioenergy Research Scientists
The October 24, 2008, issue of Science contains a feature article that discusses the biological production of next-generation liquid transportation fuels. Jay Keasling, Director of the DOE Joint Bioenergy Research Center, explains how his experience using synthetic biology to produce large amounts of artemisinin (an antimalarial drug that is expensive to obtain from plant sources) makes him optimistic about the potential for synthetic biology to create biological replacements for gasoline and jet fuel at competitive prices. James Liao of the University of California, Los Angeles-DOE Institute of Genomics and Proteomics describes his pathway engineering approaches to produce isobutanol, which is a better transportation fuel than ethanol because of its higher energy density. Several experts from startup companies are also interviewed about the future of synthetic biology to provide transformational changes to biofuel production.