A beach in glowing bacteria

By Ed Yong | January 24, 2009 12:00 pm

A little light weekend treat for you.

This beach scence was drawn using eight strains of glowing bacteria. Each has been engineered to produce a differently coloured fluorescent protein. The bacteria were swabbed over a nutrient plate and left to grow overnight, resulting in this living, shining work of art.

The best thing about it is that it comes from the laboratory of Roger Tsien, who won a Nobel Prize for his discovery of work on developing the green fluorescent protein, GFP. This big daddy of glowing proteins was isolated from a species of jellyfish and its structure has since been tweaked to produce variants that glow in different colours. By providing scientists with a way of visualising the goings-on inside living cells, GFP and its kin have revolutionised modern molecular biology. And, obviously, it makes for pretty, pretty pictures.

(Hat tip to the wonderful Observation of a Nerd)

GFP-beach.jpg

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal
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