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Hawaii House considers adopting state microbe; state would be first in nation

Hawaii has several official state symbols, including a flower, a song and a flag, but some say that's not enough.

"Missing from this group of symbols is an official state microbe," Rep. James Tokioka wrote in a bill proposing to add a microbe to the list.

Hawaii House members considered the bill Tuesday after it gained the approval of the House committee on culture.

Hawaii could be the first state in the nation to adopt an official microbe, University of Hawaii professor Stuart Donachie said.

"Hawaii can lead the way," he wrote in his testimony supporting the bill.

The microscopic organism in question was discovered in Donachie's lab by Iris Kuo, a student from Iolani High School, with help from Donachie and several other scientists.

The microbe is called Flavobacterium akiainvivens and can be found on a Hawaiian shrub called akia.

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