Genetic Breakthroughs

Archive Report

Regulating Biotechnology

Taking First New Life Form Out of Lab

Sometime early this year an invisible organism, nicknamed “ice minus” by its creators, will make history—provided a federal judge doesn't bar the lab door. For the first time ever, scientists plan to take a new life form out of the laboratory and release it in the environment. After months of study, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the release last November, saying it expected no harm to come from the experiment.

It involves a genetically altered strain of bacteria that, in its natural state, is almost everywhere. The altered version, created by Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc. of Oakland, Calif., lacks a protein that is essential for ice crystals to form. Its mission is to keep frost from ...

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