Wiz kid, Aiden Pasinsky is currently on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough in climate change. A highly remarkable High School Junior, he’s been working independently for 3 years on a phenomenal research project that could literally save the world. His research is one of a small number in the world that aims to remove CO2 from our atmosphere through a process called geoengineering: large-scale workable climate interventions that aim to remove the greenhouse gas CO2 directly from the atmosphere.
Aiden Pasinsky is said to have found genes that enhance the CO2 processing rate of the micro algae called Prochlorococcus; an organism responsible for more than 20% of earth’s CO2 processing. It was discovered that if the organism photosynthesis can be accelerated and made more resilient, it can reverse climate change by being able to keep up with human-caused CO2 emissions. He came out tops in the state science fair in Utah (USEF) in Biology and is presently preparing to compete at the prestigious International Science and Engineering Fair (the world championship of science fairs) in less than a week.
According to Aiden Pasinsky, “When I was 15, I learned that Cyanobacteria, specifically, Prochlorococcus, are the untold heroes of our atmosphere. The smallest oxygen producer in the world, yet one of the largest organisms on Earth by total mass. Found in the ocean, they absorb an incredible amount of CO2 every year and, as such, serve as the foundation for the oceanic food chain. However, human CO2 production has recently exceeded the absorption capacity of Prochlorococcus. As we all know CO2 is a greenhouse gas that greatly contributes to global warming which I believe is possibly the greatest threat humans face.
“The goal of my research is to create a strain of Prochlorococcus that is more an effective in the mass removal of CO2 from our atmosphere. Currently, many climate solutions focus on merely slowing down our emissions. However, I believe that if we can modify the organism to work harder and more efficiently, we may have one of the best geoengineering solutions and make it possible to actually reverse global warming in our lifetimes.”
Read Aiden Pasinsky’s Abstract From His Research On Prochlorococcus
Prochlorococcus is a cyanobacterium that produces more than 20% of Earth’s oxygen. This organism is a key organism for balancing global CO2 levels. However, anthropogenic CO2 production exceeds the absorption abilities of Prochlorococcus. The purpose of this project was to analyze and identify the mutations and functional metabolic changes in my force-evolved strain of Prochlorococcus Marinus CCMP 1375 from my previous years’ experiment. This year, I performed a functional/genetic analysis of the raw mutations observed, and then compared my mutations to those identified in strains used in other research studies and sequenced wild-type strains (specifically, Prochlorococcus MIT 9211, SS51, and SS2). If identical mutations were found in highly active strains, it is probable that the forced mutations benefit the organism’s carbon fixation cycle and survivability.
I observed mutations in 11 genes. These genes have been linked to glycolysis, tRNA ligase, and glycine production. Three mutated genes contained mutations identified in other studies, as well as, wild-type genomes of active strains, as hypothesized. Based on these results, some genes that are likely beneficial to carbon fixation ability and metabolic rate include genes that catalyze the production of proline and alanine, produce DNA-directed RNA polymerase, and produce glutamine- fructose-6-phosphate transaminase. These mutated genes, in combination, resulted in a more active carbon-fixing strain of Prochlorococcus. Mutation analysis of Prochlorococcus in this project provides genetic targets for future CRISPR genetic engineering research in order to create a more robust Prochlorococcus that may have global environmental impacts beyond currently proposed solutions for atmospheric CO2 mitigation.
Aiden Pasinsky has proven to be a highly effective leader, he’s president of numerous school and state level organizations, he’s student body President for the second year, at the #1 ranked charter and public school in Utah and is currently evaluating his college options, Aiden is already quite decorated, as he has received numerous awards, accolades, invitations from state, national, and international agencies. Watch for him, he could really be a key figure in undoing much of the damage that humans have caused to the environment. If he acquires the right platform and resources, the Earth may be on its way to experiencing real climate repair for the first time.