Oil spill is a major environmental issue. It has been found that different strains of Pseudomonas bacteria have genes to break down the four major groups of hydrocarbons in oil. Trials are underway to use different biotechnological tools to incorporate these genes and create a genetically engineered strain of Pseudomonas - a ‘super-bug’, to break down the four major groups of hydrocarbons in oil. Such bacteria might be sprayed onto surfaces polluted with oil to clean thin films of oil.

(a)  List two advantages of using bacteria for such biotechnological studies?

(b) For amplification of the gene of interest PCR was carried out. The PCR was run with the help of polymerase which was functional only at a very low temperature. How will this impact the efficiency of the PCR? Justify.

(c) If such bacteria are sprayed on water bodies with oil spills, how will this have a positive or negative effect on the environment? Discuss.



(a) You can easily grow a large quantity of the bacteria/no ethical issues/have plasmids/ can easily transform.

(b) PCR will not amplify the gene.

If the polymerase enzyme denatures at low temp, it will not be able to withstand high temperature which is essential for separating/opening/unwinding/ denaturing DNA strand to open.

Thus subsequent step of extending the primers using the nucleotides provided in the reaction and the genomic DNA as template will not occur.

(c) Positive effect: oil spills can be treated and the environment becomes better/ cleaner/ water becomes more potable/ safe for aquatic forms/ safe for water birds like sea gulls.

Negative effect: the bacteria can mutate/ can harm other organisms/ can conjugate with other non-virulent forms and make them super bugs with detrimental effect/ unpredictable/ for a longer duration it may reduce the dissolved oxygen and leading to mortality of aquatic organisms.


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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.