Scales: "Despite some early setbacks, our outlook remains hopeful."
  • Scales: "Despite some early setbacks, our outlook remains hopeful."
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NERVOUSLY LOOKING AWAY, BIOTECH VALLEY — "As usual, big, loud, and dumb gets all the headlines," says Dr. Pisco Scales at the Sorrento Valley biotech Nucelis, LLC. "They're spending a billion dollars on that Carlsbad desalination plant to produce what, 50 million gallons of water a day? That's enough for maybe 120,000 households, tops. It's insufficient, it's expensive, it requires huge amounts of energy, and it produces supersalinated wastewater. But there's a drought, so everybody gets excited. Meanwhile, we soldier on, underfunded and all but unnoticed, even though we're the only real hope humanity has."

Scales is referring to Nucelis's efforts to approach the looming global water shortage "in the only way that makes any sense. Instead of gargantuan efforts to make saltwater fit for human consumption, why not make humans fit for consuming saltwater? Our innovations in the field of DNA transgenics have already shown huge promise. But until now, the money for the necessary research just hasn't been there. Happily, we've just secured a major grant from the Moreau Institute of Innovation — they operate out of some South Sea Island, I think. This kind of collaboration is key — up to now, we've been trying to solve this problem single-handed. Literally."

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