Creating algae in the dark

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA and the Martek Biosciences Corporation of Columbia, have devised a way to make one species of single-celled algae grow without light. By inserting a single gene from human red blood cells in one case and another single-celled algae in another, the researchers were able to make the algae grow with sugar. This bit of genetic engineering may eventually enable algae producers to stop using ponds and instead grow the organisms in sealed tanks. This in turn should make using algae for pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements much more efficient.