Friday, April 17, 2009

Petunia With Human DNA

"Ready or not, a Chicago artist and a University of Minnesota biologist have concocted just such a petunia, called "Edunia," after artist Eduardo Kac, whose DNA runs through its veins. The pink-ruffled flower is the shy star of an exhibit opening tonight at the university's Weisman Art Museum.

With lush green foliage and cascades of pretty flowers, Edunia looks like any ordinary petunia. The blossoms' delicate red veins are the result of DNA manipulation that integrates a protein-coding sequence from a chromosome in Kac's blood....

Like all research involving the creation of transgenic organisms, Edunia had to be approved by the university's biological safety committee and conform to guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health. That means, among other things, that no leaves, seeds or blossoms escape into the natural environment. Ultimately Edunia will be destroyed, though some of its seeds will become part of the Weisman's permanent collection."

And OMG:

"A professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kac, 46, is internationally known for his work in technology and bio-art. His most famous creation was Alba, a genetically modified white rabbit whose fur glowed green because of an infusion of fluorescent jellyfish genes."

8 comments:

MNGarden said...

Freaky! What next?

DNAInfo said...

sounds freaky but it's interesting! it's a step forward in science. Hopefully the DNA can help people find cures for many diseases.

our friend Ben said...

Okay, Benjamin, you've helped me (finally) understand why computer hackers spread such heartless chaos not for profit but just because they can. I, uh, understand the thrill of being bright. I also think there is no thrill greater than the ecstacy of pure thought, unless it is the simple joy of taking in the beauty of the world. But without the moral strngth to think something through ("this is how you'd do this") without blindly following through ("so I'm gonna do it!"), it would be far better for the world if we were all brain-dead. Sigh.

mr_subjunctive said...

I am not alarmed by transgenic organisms, and I only have only an inkling of why other people are.

Benjamin Vogt said...

C'mon y'all. This stuff ain't cool at all. Someday a mutant petunia will get out and take us over. Think about it--the innocent facade of a flower with the sinister chaos of a human beneath.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

And it's not even April Fool's day? I guess the reason I'm perplexed by this project is that I can't see how anyone could justify spending the time or the money on doing it. Tres bizarre!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Jodi--Well, some people say that abuot blogging, or Twitter (the latter = me), so, I don't know. It does seem nuts though.

Pam said...

As long as they don't start generating flowers with eyeballs or toes, I'll be fine with it. I mean, there are genuine applications for these sorts of things.

Interesting! I love the Art Institute of Chicago - and I do remember hearing about the glowing rabbit.