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Sara Volz, 17, of Colorado Springs, investigated artificial selection for its potential to increase algae oil yields, which is essential for algae to become an economically feasible source of biofuel for her Intel Science Talent Search plant science project. In her home lab under her loft bed, Sara grew algae in a medium containing the herbicide sethoxydim to kill algae cells with low levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase), an enzyme crucial to lipid synthesis. Her analysis of the remaining artificially selected algae cells revealed significant increases in lipid accumulation, and she believes that if these algae cells can be sustained, artificial selection could be used to increase microalgae oil yields and make algae biofuel viable. Since her first science fair project as a kindergartener, Sara has earned numerous honors in science competitions at home and abroad. She attends Cheyenne Mountain High School where she is field captain of the Science Olympiad team, captain of the Science Bowl team and debate captain of the speech and debate team. A performer since the age of 6, Sara loves musical theater and improvisation and has sung and acted in many plays. The daughter of David and Pattye Volz, her long-term goal is to understand the universe.
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