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Smaller genome, greater applications

Bacteria are often the ideal machines in industry. The inputs they require are cheap substances such as amino acids and sugar, and their outputs are valuable products such as bioplastics.

The production processes involved are cheap and in many cases sustainable. But these bacteria were not of course designed for our convenience but formed by natural selection. So they can be made even more efficient for our purposes.

One method that does not seem an obvious choice, however, is randomly removing pieces of DNA. Yet that is exactly what Wageningen UR microbiologists did with the Pseudomonas putida bacterium. And successfully, too. The bacterium turned out to be perfectly able to manage without 7 percent of its genetic material. The researchers will be publishing an article on their technique in a forthcoming edition of Environmental Microbiology.

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