Seas Yield Surprising Catch of Unknown Genes

Among them are more than 2,000 “proteorhodopsins,” each of which can convert certain wavelengths of sunlight into biological energy through means wholly independent of photosynthesis, the process used by green vegetation. That gives scientists a slew of new methods to mimic for getting energy from the sun, Venter said.

Some new genes seem designed to help organisms get energy from carbon dioxide in the air, a tantalizing alternative to the oil and coal that most human technologies rely on. Researchers hope those biological blueprints may show them how to scrub greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.


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