Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let It Glow, Let It Glow, Let It Glow

We all know about transgenic florescent animals, right? The glowing mice, dogs, monkeys, and the recently announced prairie voles*. They're created by injecting specific jellyfish genes into embryos, which then develop naturally. At the moment, these animals are made for the lab, intended for experiments and furthering biological knowledge. The next stage of Messing With Glowing DNA is probably going to be working animals, provided there are places where florescent horses, goats, dogs, cows, or llamas would be better suited than their boring non-glowy counterparts. After that, we'll have glowing pets.

The stage we'll probably never actually see is the Glowing Human. We could go to nightclubs and glow without makeup! There've got to be actually "good" uses for that technology, too. Underground exploration? Color-coding social classes or tribal affiliation? Or maybe there's a naturally florescent or luminescent alien race out there, and the only way they'll accept us is if we glow as well?

This wasn't even what I was planning to talk about today. I wanted to discuss the salmon DNA LED**. This is a very cool lightbulb even without the DNA component. It absorbs UV light and then emits it as blue, orange, or white light, based on how much dye is used to coat the LED. This dye is where the DNA comes in—it's being used as a nanofiber.

Using DNA will also make these bulbs last longer, since DNA is a super-strong polymer. Just think, if these become commercialized, we may never need to change lightbulbs again!

We'd probably still have lightbulb jokes, though. Some things will never die.

* via Gizmodo
** via io9

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