Famed geneticist creating life forms that turns CO2 to petroleum

MONTEREY, California, Feb 28, 2008 (AFP) – A scientist who mapped his genome and the genetic diversity of the oceans said Thursday he is creating a life form that feeds on climate-ruining carbon dioxide to produce fuel. “We are a ways away from designing people. Our goal is just to make sure they survive long enough to do that.” Geneticist Craig Venter disclosed his potentially world-changing “fourth-generation fuel” project at an elite Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Monterey, California.

“We have modest goals of replacing the whole petrochemical industry and becoming a major source of energy,” Venter told an audience that included global warming fighter Al Gore and Google co-founder Larry Page.

“We think we will have fourth-generation fuels in about 18 months, with CO2 as the fuel stock.”

Simple organisms can be genetically re-engineered to produce vaccines or octane-based fuels as waste, according to Venter.

Biofuel alternatives to oil are third-generation. The next step is life forms that feed on CO2 and give off fuel such as methane gas as waste, according to Venter.

“We have 20 million genes which I call the design components of the future,” Venter said. “We are limited