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CRISPR, a word that often gets thrown around is a gene-editing technology that was discovered as a defense mechanism used by bacteria to cut out sections of DNA. This natural defense was made to cut up potential viral DNA and render it useless so the bacteria could go on thriving. The incredible amount of potential solutions range from correcting genetic defects to growing and improving more resilient crops. All of this power, from a simple single-celled bacteria. Bacteria are capable of some pretty astonishing things we are still learning about daily.

Recently a new bacteria was discovered that has mastered photosynthesis, being able to harness the energy of the sun like plants. Photosynthesizing bacteria are not unheard of but the way in which it is hypothesized this bacteria acquired the ability to harness the sun’s energy and breath out oxygen is astonishing. Bacteria are able to steal their neighbor’s genes through a very unique process called horizontal-gene transfer. This basically allows a bacterium to reach over into another bacterium and grab the required bits to earn new superpowers like photosynthesis or in scary cases antibiotic resistance.

This newly found form of photosynthesis is incredibly stable and new to science.  Gemmatimonas phototrophica dwells in the Gobi desert and at some point in the bacterium history, it reached over and stole these genes from a proteobacterium which is in a different phylum of bacteria.

It is easy to see that these incredible examples of how important science is to researching and developing new techniques could lead to a more successful mankind. STEM must become a greater emphasis in school and programs must be created to foster the growth and continued success of future scientists, doctors, engineers, and mathematicians.

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