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Speeding up the Evolutionary Process

From TV dinners to computers, improving speed and efficiency are deemed the true hallmarks of progress. The same tenet holds true in science: Why wait thousands of years for nature to do its work when it can be done in a few months? This is the concept behind the new biotech firm Morphotek. Using a patented technology platform called morphogenics, the company has given evolution's normal crawling pace a rocket-powered backpack. Philadelphia-based Morphotek creates genetically altered host orga

Hal Cohen
From TV dinners to computers, improving speed and efficiency are deemed the true hallmarks of progress. The same tenet holds true in science: Why wait thousands of years for nature to do its work when it can be done in a few months? This is the concept behind the new biotech firm Morphotek. Using a patented technology platform called morphogenics, the company has given evolution's normal crawling pace a rocket-powered backpack.

Philadelphia-based Morphotek creates genetically altered host organisms using morphogenics, a technology that alters the genome of a wide range of host cells including microbes, plants, and mammals. The resulting evolution is accelerated and the gene pool is then skimmed for the offspring that exhibit viable traits, say company officials. "Morphogenics works on all organisms," explains Morphotek CEO Nicholas Nicoladies. "The power of our technology is applicable for a wide range of manufacturing and gene discovery ... this gives...

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