"Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World"

"In the menagerie of Craig Venter’s imagination, tiny bugs will save the world. They will be custom bugs, designer bugs -- bugs that only Venter can create. He will mix them up in his private laboratory from bits and pieces of DNA, and then he will release them into the air and the water, into smokestacks and oil spills, hospitals and factories and your house. "

"Each of the bugs will have a mission. Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA.

Right now, Venter is thinking of a bug. He is thinking of a bug that could swim in a pond and soak up sunlight and urinate automotive fuel. He is thinking of a bug that could live in a factory and gobble exhaust and fart fresh air. He may not appear to be thinking about these things. He may not appear to be thinking at all. He may appear to be riding his German motorcycle through the California mountains, cutting the inside corners so close that his kneepads skim the pavement. This is how Venter thinks."

Wil S. Hylton reports for the New York Times Magazine May 30, 2012.


"Is Craig Venter Going To Save the Planet? Or Is This More Hype From One of America’s Most Controversial Scientists?" (Washington Post Magazine/Susan Okie/August 11, 2011)

Source: NY Times Magazine, 06/05/2012