R&D firm Synthetic Genomics recently announced a long-term development deal with U.K.-based BP that will focus on developing hydrocarbon bioconversion processes to foster cleaner energy production and improved recovery rates. As part of the agreement, BP has also made an equity investment in Synthetic Genomics.
The first phase of research will focus on gaining a better understanding of microbial communities in oil, natural gas, coal and shale. Synthetic Genomics will explore the use of environmental DNA sequencing and microbial cell culturing to produce the first comprehensive genomic study of microbial populations living in hydrocarbon environments. Once the basic science research phases are complete, BP and Synthetic Genomics plan to jointly commercialize the technologies developed.
The overall goal of Synthetic Genomics is to discover and/or design new genomes that will code for new types of cells with desired properties for bioenergy or specific chemical production. In this project, Synthetic Genomics scientists hope to better understand hydrocarbon metabolism by sequencing the genomes and culturing the cells of the naturally occurring microbes that thrive in subsurface hydrocarbons.
For more information, visit http://www.syntheticgenomics.com/
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