Job 21:22
Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.

Biotechnology may be a new word to you. It’s a relatively new science. Biotechnology is the science of engineering custom-made life forms. For example, biotechnologists can add to a bacterium the gene that makes fireflies glow. This procedure gives the bacterium the ability to glow.

Firefly illuminated by self-emitted lightToday, many engineered bacteria have been designed. They make medicines, hormones, enzymes and even food products. As biotechnologists are learning more about how to custom-design bacteria, they are able to make bacteria that are better able to do their assigned jobs. The efficiency of bacteria in doing their jobs can be affected by how efficiently they use their food and how much  oxygen they need. Getting enough oxygen to bacteria growing in  vats is often a challenge.

Biotechnologists have now discovered a bacterium that does well in low-oxygen situations. It can get by with periods of lower oxygen because it makes hemoglobin, the same molecule that carries oxygen in our blood. The bacterium uses the hemoglobin much like scuba gear to help it breathe. Biotechnologists have successfully added the hemoglobin gene to bacteria to make an enzyme used in the commercial production of high-fructose corn syrup. As a result of their increased efficiency, these bacteria are now able to make twice as much enzyme.

Even so-called “simple” living things are a symphony of carefully designed abilities. Modern science is revealing that they are intelligently designed by our Creator.

Dear Lord, I thank You that You have allowed us to learn some of the secrets of how You designed life to work so that we may improve life here on earth. I pray that You would prosper the positive use of this knowledge and discourage any possible misuse. Amen.

Fackelmann, Kathy. 1991. “‘Scuba gear’ for biotech bugs.” Science News, v. 140, p. 334. Photo: Firefly illuminated by self-emitted light. (CC BY 3.0)