Photos: From E. coli to electronics

Photos: From E. coli to electronics

Summary: Single-celled animals might be some of the most important figures in high technology.

TOPICS: Security

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  • Genetically engineered virus proteins

    The proteins, the white glowing bits in the photograph, came from a virus genetically engineered by Cambrios. One end of the protein is attracted to, and sticks to, copper. The other end sticks to cobalt. By dipping a silicon wafer etched with microscopic copper wires in a soup of these proteins, a semiconductor maker can effectively lay down the glue for putting on a layer of cobalt on top of the copper. To put on cobalt, the manufacturer just has to dip the wafer in a second soup. Now, putting an insulating layer on copper?which will connect transistors in chips--requires several expensive steps.

  • Glowing green bacteria

    No, that?s not an attempt at a smiley face. The bacteria in the Petri dish have been engineered to glow green. The organism is question grows a precursor of artemisinin, an antimalarial drug. Artemisinin grows naturally in mangrove swamps in Asia, but is expensive to harvest. Amyris Biotechnologies hopes to develop a synthetic version of the drug out of genetically engineered bacteria over the next three years.

Topic: Security

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