US Navy Aims to Track Enemy Subs With Gene-Modified Marine Organisms

Previously, the Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) aimed to find existing marine organisms capable of reacting to unknown, man-made objects so that the US military could use them without tapping into their DNA. It seems that the Pentagon has abandoned this plan for a gene-modified one.

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), working for the US military, has changed the direction of its PALS project to breeding marine life-forms that would produce measurable reactions, when they encounter enemy submarines, Defence One reported.

Sarah Glaven, an NRL researcher cited by the online website, said that by altering the genome of bacteria living in the oceans and seas, they can possibly make them produce an electrical signal, when they come in contact with fuel or steel molecules in water. Such bacteria can become a living self-sustaining submarine sensor.

“After experiments where we look at switching gene potential, gene expression, regulatory networks, we are finding these sensors”, she said.

Glaven claims that the laboratory possesses hard evidence, proving such biotechnology can be achieved and adapted for the use by the military in just a year.

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