Code Breakers

Scientists are altering bacteria in a most fundamental way

By Tina Hesman Saey, 15:47 PM April 15, 2008

Something extraordinarily unnatural is about to take shape in Peter G. Schultz's laboratory.

Except for its sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean, the lab itself, at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., seems unremarkable. It's a perfectly ordinary, if rather large, research facility. The researchers there work with the most commonplace of all laboratory bacteria—the ubiquitous Escherichia coli.

But this familiar bacterium is about to become unique among creatures on Earth.

Schultz ...

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