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Photos: Voyage in search of microbes

The start-up Synthetic Genomics got a head start from an ocean-going voyage led by pioneering scientist J. Craig Venter.
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1 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Sorcerer II

Much of the work being done at Synthetic Genomics stems from a voyage made by the scientist J. Craig Venter (in green tank top) aboard his 95-foot sailing sloop, the Sorcerer II, outfitted as a seagoing lab. To his left is Tony Knap, senior research scientist at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. The expedition set sail around the world in spring 2003.

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2 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Filtering the microbes

Filtration systems aboard the Sorcerer II were an essential part of the gear used to identify micro-organisms. The ultimate goal of the expedition: publishing a genomic catalog of the world's microbes.

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3 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

YSI meter

This YSI meter measures variables such as water temperature, salinity, pH and dissolved oxygen.

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4 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Sargasso Sea

The expedition's test voyage to the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda, an area thought to have low species diversity, turned up more than a million unexpected genes. Samples included at least 1,800 species of bacteria, including 100 new ones.

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5 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Round the world

The Sorcerer II began its round-the-world trip in Nova Scotia (far right on the map), then headed west through the Panama Canal to Australia, then further west around South Africa.

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