Oct 23 at 6:06pm by Aileen
The 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to the discoverers of the ‘green fluorescent protein’, known as GFP.
This remarkable protein was first observed in a species of jellyfish in 1962, and in the years since has become one of the most important biochemical tools. by attaching GFP to other proteins of interest, such as nerve cells and cancer cells, those proteins can be followed in their actions allowing scientists to map the activities of biological functions. And while that type of research may be fairly obscure for regular people to understand and follow, the GFP protein and some engineered brother proteins have been put to a commercial use most of us can relate to…
If you have an aquarium and pay attention to the very latest in cool tropical fish, you’ve no doubt heard about GloFish. These originally engineered zebrafish (that now pass their glow onto their offspring naturally) come in the standard ‘electric green’, but also in ‘starfire red’ and ‘sunburst orange’! Yes, they do faintly glow in the dark, but are best shown off under a fluorescent black light.
You could see these in your dentist or doctor’s office waiting room if you don’t have any already, so impress your care-giver by talking about the GFP protein and how the discoverers finally got their Nobel Prize! It probably won’t get you a discount on that filling or check-up, but it’ll give you something besides your sore knee or the increase in your insurance premium this year to talk about.