Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

This week's question concerns synthetic biology research. A study published online by the journal "Science" details how scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute recently developed the first viable cell controlled by a synthetic genome. According to the researchers, the cell is called synthetic because it is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with chemicals, a chemical synthesizer, and information in a computer. They hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems. What do you think? Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

Posted in: Question of the Week


Energy-Efficient Housing Research Partnerships

On behalf of the DOE’s Building America residential research program, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). Building America research teams will be selected to develop cost-effective solutions that improve the quality and energy efficiency of U.S. homes.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Government, Government Initiatives


Fuel-Saving Paint System Based on Sharkskin

To lower the fuel consumption of airplanes and ships, it is necessary to reduce their flow resistance, or drag. A paint system from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM makes this possible. Along with lowering costs, it also reduces CO2 emissions.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Wind Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases


Manipulating Plant Growth Hormones Key for Biofuel Future

Auxin is a powerful plant growth hormone that tells plants how to grow, where to lay down roots, how to make tissues, and how to respond to light and gravity. Knowing how to manipulate auxin could have enormous implications for the production of biofuel - making plants grow faster and better.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Alternative Fuels, Green Design & Manufacturing


Is time travel possible?

This week's question concerns the concept of time travel. Usually the topic of science fiction books and movies, two of the world's most respected physicists, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku, assert that time travel could become a scientific reality. In a recent AOL Science article, both scientists cited Einstein's belief of a fourth dimension -- known as time -- as grounds for the possibility of time travel. They also suggest wormholes and black holes could be useful in achieving time travel. What do you think? Is time travel possible?

Posted in: Question of the Week


Improving Water Quality With Algae

According to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist, algae could remove nitrogen and phosphorus in livestock manure runoff - giving resource managers an eco-friendly option for reducing the level of agricultural pollutants that contaminate water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies


$33 Million in Funding for Biomass R&D

The U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) jointly announced up to $33 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products - subject to annual appropriations.

Posted in: GDM, News, Videos, News, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Government, Government Initiatives, Alternative Fuels, Green Design & Manufacturing


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