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Transgenic Light at Stanford University

Art Gallery

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Jellyfish genes can illuminate the inner workings of cells and molecules. The green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene originated with the Pacific Northwest jellyfish Aequorea victoria, which emits a green fluorescent glow when agitated. This may be a defense mechanism to confuse predators.

Olfactory projection neurons and dendrites using MARCM (mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker) system. Projection neuron types with dendrites receiving olfactory signals from a single major glomerulus in antennal lobe.
Close-up of muscle tissue of mouse. GFP (green stain) indicates cell is originally a bone marrow cell. These cells have migrated to muscle tissue. Images include side-views of bone-marrow derived muscle fiber demonstrating a sarcomeric characteristic of skeletal myofibers. These show that bone marrow-derived cells can generate large, multinucleated myofibers.
Single cell with dendrites.

Since the early 1990s, when scientists sequenced the gene for GFP, the protein has become a favorite tool in biological research. When inserted into the cells of laboratory organisms, like yeast, fruit flies, and mice, the GFP gene serves as a fluorescent marker. With the aid of ultraviolet light, cells from these transgenic organisms glow, illuminating biological changes such as the migration of cancer cells through the body.

The exhibition "Transgenic Light" allows a glimpse of the scientists' work in many laboratories today. The exhibition is currently on view at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, California, June 12 through August 25, 2002.

See related GNN art gallery Transgenic bunny by Eduardo Kac

Birgit Reinert

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