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A bird coated in thick fuel oil
An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term often refers to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters. The oil spill is a big trauma for the environment : the oil penetrates and opens up the structure of the plumage of birds, reducing its insulating ability, and so making the birds more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and much less buoyant in the water. It also impairs birds' flight abilities, making it difficult or impossible to forage and escape from predators. It causes the destruction of sea bed and housing environment of numerous animals and the destruction of the fauna and the flora of coastal regions. To prevent widespread damage when spills occur, workers now try to contain the spill using absorbent barriers or boats that skim oil off the water's surface. Another useful method is in situ burning, where oil is burned off the water. Unfortunately, this method can only be used in low wind because they can cause air pollution. New bioremediation technologies are constantly being developed using microorganisms to break the hydrocarbons down into less harmful compounds. Scientists and researchers are working on new ways to limit the effects of an oil spill; there is also research underway to use lipids to mitigate environmental damage. As it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of oil spills during the extraction, processing, and transportation of oil, it is important to have a well-designed plan in place that can be used for clean up in order to limit negative impacts. This is why we want to manipulate a bacterium which degrades the petroleum: In order to avoid a bacteria pollution of the environment, this bacteria is subject to a suicide gene. This suicide gene codes for a DNAse which is expressed when there is no oil left.

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