Related projects

mythological hybrids

Pegasus, Centaur, mermaids, Minotaur. “In mythology, folklore and speculative fiction, shapeshifting, or metamorphosis is the ability of an entity to physically transform into another being or form. This is usually achieved through an inherent faculty of a mythological creature, divine intervention, or the use of magic spells or talismans.”(wikipedia)


The first genetically modified animal to be sold as a pet

Eduardo Kac

GFP Bunny, 2000

"My transgenic artwork "GFP Bunny" comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit, the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit."


Natural history of the Enigma. Edunia. "The new flower is a Petunia strain that I invented and produced through molecular biology. It is not found in nature. The Edunia has red veins on light pink petals and a gene of mine is expressed on every cell of its red veins, i.e., my gene produces a protein in the veins only [2]. The gene was isolated and sequenced from my blood. The petal pink background, against which the red veins are seen, is evocative of my own pinkish white skin tone. The result of this molecular manipulation is a bloom that creates the living image of human blood rushing through the veins of a flower."

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen


In Sterile, albino goldfish were engineered to hatch without reproductive organs. Following a long collaboration, an edition of 45 goldfish was produced for the artists by Professor Yamaha in his laboratory in Hokkaido, Japan. The fish were not conceived as animals but made as objects, unable to partake in the biological cycle.

Joe Davis

Microvenus, File:Joe-davis-microvenus.pdf

“Each Microvenus organism contains many copies of a special molecule designed by the artist and his colleagues. The artistic molecule is a short piece of synthetic DNA containing a coded visual icon that has been incorporated into a living strain of bacteria (E. Coli).” (Davis, J. (1996). “Microvenus” in Art Journal, Vol. 55, No. 1, Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code (Spring, 1996), pp. 70-74)

5-by-7 Microvenus picture-raster


“The Microvenus data base describes a graphic icon that is identical with an ancient Germanic rune and other iconography originally used to represent life and the female earth. .. Microvenus was created by converting this graphic image into an easily understood sequence of DNA base pairs.”(ibid)

“Once the DNA representing the Microvenus was chemically synthesized and converted into a form that can be inserted into a cell, the next step was to introduce this DNA into a kind of biological “shipping carton” that scientists usually refer to as a “vector.” A vector in this sense is typically a viruslike entity that is not able to “live” autonomously but that can be absorbed through cell membranes and thus enter and reproduce inside living cells.”(ibid)

“The techniques used to clone the Microvenus plasmid were essentially the same as those used in the 1970s by Stanley N. Cohen, Annie C. Y. Chang, Herbert W. Boyer, and Robert B. Helling to create some of the first recombinant organisms. Restriction enzymes were used to cleave plasmids. Other enzymes (ligase and polymerase) were used to attach Microvenus DNA to plasmid DNA and to “glue” the recombinant plasmids back together again.”(ibid)

“Microvenus plasmids were cloned into several laboratory strains of E. coli (with molecular geneticist Dana Boyd) at Jon Beckwith’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School in the spring of 1988 and again at Alexander Rich’s Laboratory of Molecular Structure at MIT.”(ibid)

Life code

Transgenic organisms

Genetically modified organisms or “Transgenic organisms are able to express foreign genes because the genetic code is similar for all organisms. This means that a specific DNA sequence will code for the same protein in all organisms. Due to this similarity in protein sequence, scientists can cut DNA at these common protein points and add other genes. An example of this is the "super mice" of the 1980s. These mice were able to produce the human protein tPA to treat blood clots.”

Genetic engineering

"there is a clear distinction between breeding and genetic engineering. Breeders manipulate indirectly the natural processes of gene selection and mutation that occur in nature. Breeders are unable, therefore, to turn genes on or off with precision or to create hybrids with genomic material so distinct as that of a dog and a jellyfish. In this sense, a distinctive trait of transgenic art is that the genetic material is manipulated directly: the foreign DNA is precisely integrated into the host genome. In addition to genetic transfer of existing genes from one species to another, we can also speak of "artist's genes," i.e., chimeric genes or new genetic information completely created by the artist through the complementary bases A (adenine) and T (thymine) or C (cytosine) and G (guanine)." (Kac 1998)

"The foreign DNA may be expressed as extrachromosomal satellite DNA or it may be integrated into the cellular chromosomes. Every living organism has a genetic code that can be manipulated, and the recombinant DNA can be passed on to the next generations." (Kac 1998)

Francis Crick discovered DNA in 1953. “Crick was an important theoretical molecular biologist and played a crucial role in research related to revealing the helical structure of DNA. He is widely known for use of the term "central dogma" to summarize the idea that genetic information flow in cells is essentially one-way, from DNA to RNA to protein.”(wikipedia,

Double Helix,

“Biologists should realise that before long we shall have a subject which might be called “protein taxonomy” – the study of amino acid sequences of proteins of an organism and the comparison of them between species. It can be argued that these sequences are the most delicate expression possible of the phenotype of an organism and that vast amounts of evolutionary information may be hidden away within them.” Excerpt From: Nick Lane. “The Vital Question: Why Is Life the Way It Is?.” iBooks.

"Among the most important tools in the genetic engineer's tool kit are enzymes that perform specific functions on DNA. .. enzymes known as ligases join the ends of two DNA fragments. These and other enzymes enable the manipulation and amplification of DNA, essential components in joining the DNA of two unrelated organisms."(Fenwick 2004)

Methods for genetically modified organisms

1. man mischt vereinzelte Zellen mit DNA Molekülen / eg using heat stress

2. Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Boden Bakterien, die Bakterien kommen aus der Natur, sie greifen die Pflanzen an wenn die verletzt sind; die infizieren die Pflanzen mit DNA; damit entsteht ein Tumor/callus; durch diese Bakterien genetisch verändert werden; die Bakterien haben in der Zeit ein Gen/Bauplan für ein eiweiss, damit die pflanzen dieses Eiweiß produzieren und die Bakterien fressen da; Kwass Nahrung mittel; man nennt dieses Phänomen genetische Kolonisation). Zufall. Bakterien machen Verbindungskanäle mit Injektion von DNA. Woher kann man die DNA Teile bestimmen

3. CRISPR/Cas9. Methode damit man ganz genau bestimmen wo die neue DNA eingebaut wird

GFP E.coli Workshop (method 1)

Day 1.


  • (Reptile) incubator
  • Spectrometer to calculate cell growth mass

TSS medium (Transformation & Storage Solution) reduce cell liquids/plazma (oils, acids, etc). Cool down e.coli cells 4 degrees (above freezing temperature). The right amount of e.coli need to be now annoyed with tss solution. We put into small tubes (each 1 ml) e.coli with removed previous LB medium/solution (centrifuge for 10 min 3000 rpm) and we add tss solution and 5 microliter dna. 8 positive and two negative, with no dna. We keep 30 min in the ice and then heat shock with 42 degrees warmed up water.

Day 2

Results are good. With Arabinose sugars we will switch the GFP gene on (so far GFP is not active). Arabinose activates promoter (the small part of the gene) plasmid (a small part of chromosome). Filter new LB-AMP-ARA medium. Pick one colony of bacteria and put together with a tip into a new LB-Amp-Ara medium. Put into incubator shaker for a night

Day 3