Escherichia Coli, better known as E-Coli are a rod shaped bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning.
There are many strains of E-Coli and most are harmless. However it is still probably the biggest cause of food recalls today.
For over sixty years scientists have known about these bacteria and have been investigating it in their laboratories. They have discovered that it is easy to reproduce and has proven useful in DNA experiments as it has the ability to transfer DNA.
The scientists have said that the E-Coli they produce in their laboratories are harmless to humans.
It is now considered by some of the scientific world that these bacteria could be used as a sort of code on certain items.
E-Coli will show itself in different colors, depending upon how it is looked at. It is therefore thought that an item subjected to one strain of E-Coli will show up as a certain color under certain circumstances and if those circumstances are only known to the people that infected the item, then counterfeits could easily be detected, as the fake item would not have the correct infection.
Ever since money has been used, there has been an ongoing struggle to try and detect or stop counterfeiting, with only a limited amount of success.
It has now been suggested that money should be tainted with certain strains of harmless E-Coli, to assist in the counterfeiting war.
I am sure that the scientists are right when they say that they can produce safe strains in their laboratories and that they can help them in other research. It has even been said that it could be a major factor in the search for different bio fuels.
My concerns though are:
E-Coli strains have been found easy and inexpensive to make in labs and are therefore able to be quickly made in various forms.
Since biological weapons have been outlawed, so have experiments in creating them. E-Coli has shown itself to be a dangerous bacteria under normal circumstances, causing 73,000 Americans to seek hospital treatment annually, how easy would it be to make it more dangerous?
Introducing a potentially, dangerous bacteria into every bodies lives, such as putting it on legal currency, has to be a mistake. Even if the strain used on the legal tender was harmless wouldn’t it be encouraging counterfeiters to experiment for themselves, trying to find the correct strain?
Couldn’t the counterfeiters, even accidentally, introduce a harmful if not deadly strain into the hands of the people, women and children included?
Even if E-Coli is important to research: keep it contained, don’t put it on the streets.
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