Scientists around the world, including several in Ontario, are investigating the ability of naturally occurring microbes and those that have been genetically enhanced to:

Bioremediate our lakes and rivers, sequestering such toxins as mercury and lead

To clean up the oil sands even before the oil is extracted

Convert sunlight energy directly to biofeuls using genetically modified species of algae. Exxon Mobil has invested in excess of US $600 million into a project doing this with the company Synthetic Genomics

Producing genetically modified microbes to quickly produce simple and effective vaccines

In Ontario, Dr. Elizabeth Edwards, University of Toronto, and Dr. David Major, Geosytec Consultants, are looking at ways of converting industrially processed plant residues into biofuels and other bioproducts. They have already had success with the creation of a microbial culture that cleans up contaminated groundwater sites

Dr. Paul Hebert and his team at the International Barcode of Life (iBOL), run out of the University of Guelph, are gathering together DNA barcodes of several species to help fight climate change, improve border control and control the spread of diseases like malaria and the West Nile virus

Genomics research is already helping maintain a healthy environment: