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An integrated approach: The proposed Western Algal Biofuels and Biotechnology Institute (WesABBI) would integrate a broad spectrum of disciplines toward developing a comprehensive strategy for utilizing algae as a new source for food, energy and other valuable chemical entities. This would effectively develop algae as a new agricultural specialty crop which would not compete with existing human food crops for arable land or as alternative usage of valuable and limited human foodstuffs. Algae are capable of being grown in a wide variety of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and can be engineered and optimized to provide a wide variety of biofuels, food, and chemical feedstocks in an environmentally responsible and sustainable framework. There are many potential advantages of selecting algae as a photosynthetic biosynthetic platform for direct conversion of solar energy into useful products, including their rapid growth rates, the efficiency of single-celled organisms, the adaptability to modern genomic manipulation, the simple nutritional and energetic inputs required and the environmental and climatic adaptability of the organisms.