Maybe it's Science!, Uncategorized

Glow-worms and Butterflies

“The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life?”- Richard P. Feynman

Well, I’ve always thought of biology as a cool subject…the amazing colours of butterflies, the beauty of flowers and the intriguing beauty of glow worms! But all of this was macroscopic. At the microscopic level…it was a little…well, monochromatic!!!Β 

Genetic manipulations are great and that we can do them is amazing…but as long as these things happened at a molecular level and we couldn’t really ‘see’ anything, things were in the dark. And then a revolution in the field happened through the discovery of Green Fluorescent protein (GFP)!

2008 – The Nobel Prize in Chemistry – jointly awarded to Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien for ‘the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP!

And biology became cooler than ever! It slipped into some beautiful colours and was adorned with jewels that were previously not visible to the eye. We could tag proteins with these brilliant fluorescent proteins genetically, instead of the artificial organic fluorochromes. And suddenly, we could visualize processes of cells that were previously thought impossible. We could see where proteins were located within the vast cell, we could see where these proteins were made, where they were transported to. We could see new proteins being added and old ones being degraded! They also found a cool way to use these fluorescent proteins as in vivo thermometers! Scientists are a creative breed indeed (don’t nod your head side ways to disagree! :P). Scroll down for some cool pictures where fluorescent proteins have been used for visualizing some cool stuff!

A little fact and chemistry: GFP was always around…in a jellyfish called Aequorea victoria! Well, let’s just call it a jellyfish. So this jellyfish has a protein called aequorin which releases blue light when it binds to calcium and this blue light excites GFP, which then gives out green light!

Aequorea 2
Aequorea victoria – from which GFP was isolated
Fl 2
Left: fluorescent proteins isolated from different sources; Right: A petridish with bacteria expressing different fluorescent proteins
dividing cell
A cell captured during Mitosis (division)
A GFP rabbit!!
A GFP zebrafish embryo
neurosphere connections
A Neurosphere forming connections!

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.” – Khalil Gibran

“Nature always wears the colours of the spirit”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Give freedom to colours and then you shall meet the rainbow everywhere!”- Mehmet Murad Ildan

Colour the world with your Hope…Cheers!

Picture Credit: Well I took them all from Google images!


15 thoughts on “Glow-worms and Butterflies”

  1. That is so interesting to read of green fluorescent protein, and that is what make jellyfish glow. Haha, that GFP rabbit looks so cute – but I hope it wasn’t harmed in any way. I’m sure it’s okay πŸ˜€ In high school, I wanted to study biology but my school only allowed students to do two of the three sciences (biology, physics, chemistry). Biology was a popular subject when I was in Singapore, and I was not lucky enough to get a place in that class. Would have loved to study it but at the same time I was intimidated by all the hard terminology that comes with biology!


    1. Ah those hard terms are really just humbug! I don’t remember most of them myself but I think it’s alright… I’m doing fairly well in spite of not remembering them! πŸ˜‰ as for the rabbit, well no gfp doesn’t harm organisms.. So that’s really cool! Thanks for stopping by Mabel… It’s always nice to hear from you πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha somehow the gfp rabbit has caught everyone’s attention I think πŸ˜‰
      And thanks for stopping by.. I find biology very cool, so I’m trying to bring out the cooler side of it for everyone to see πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I take a lot of pride in being able to see and study the beauties of nature!! I’m trying to, through my posts, bring out the beauty of biology! I’m glad it is being appreciated πŸ™‚ cheers!


      1. WELL…in 1979 I graduated with a B.S.–BIOLOGY/History Minor. (Liberal Arts) did some teaching/tutoring, so decided to go back for an M.S.E.-BIOLOGY and a Secondary Education grades 6-12). I’ve gradually moved away from teaching into other areas…now, later in life, I’m a security guard…who tutors voluntarily and writes all kinds of poetry!

        Liked by 1 person

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