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NauenThen

Bioluminescence

Brainbow transgenic mouse hippocampus
I admit I do not understand a lot of this book (Bioluminescence, by Thérèse Wilson and J. Woodland Hastings), since I have zero background in biochemistry, but I'm fascinated by the topic. The picture (left, from the book) is of cells in a mouse's brain, colored by fluorescent proteins in random mixtures that make it possible to see each cell and its branching processes.

Fun facts about bioluminescence:
* It occurs primarily in marine organisms.
* It functions as defense, offense, communication, & propagation.
* It is found in half of all phyla & in 35% of all classes within those phyla.
* Fireflies are beetles not flies.
* Applications for bioluminescent processes include quickly finding contamination in meat and soft drinks (firefly bioluminescence assays are faster, more sensitive, and proportionate over a vast concentration range than others); locating tumors; & mapping nerve connections to better understand brain function.
* The 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to the Green-Fluorescent Protein (GFP).

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