Friday, May 29, 2009

birth of the transgenic marmoset

"The first genetically modified primates that can pass their modifications to their offpsring have been created by Japanese scientists ... "The birth of this transgenic marmoset baby is undoubtedly a milestone ... The cumbersome and often frustrating process of making a transgenic animal from scratch need now only occur with founder animals."
-- from
wired science

"Kac considers himself a "transgenic artist," or "bio artist", using biotechnology and genetics to create provocative works that concomitantly explore scientific techniques and critique them. Kac's first transgenic artwork, titled "Genesis," involved him taking a quote from the Bible (Genesis 1:26 - "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth"), transferring it into Morse code, and finally, translating that Morse code (by a conversion principle specially developed by the artist for this work) into the base pairs of genetics. After obtaining the genes from a laboratory which creates genetic sequences on demand, he implanted the genes into an unspecified bacterium, which he then grew in a petri dish. This petri dish was placed in a box under a UV light which could be activated by online viewers, who could see Genesis by webcam. Kac intended to present the viewer with a philosophical problem, a dichotomy: If the viewer disagrees with allowing man to have dominion over nature as the quote from the Bible suggests, then in order to destroy the idea (i.e. activate the UV light which causes mutation in the genes, thereby altering the statement), he must assert his own power over nature, thereby in a way contradicting himself. A viewer with the opposite viewpoint would have the opposite-but-equally-problematic dilemma."
-- from Wikipedia: Eduardo Kac

"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. GFP stands for green fluorescent protein. "GFP Bunny" was realized in 2000 and first presented publicly in Avignon, France. Transgenic art, I proposed elsewhere, is a new art form based on the use of genetic engineering to transfer natural or synthetic genes to an organism, to create unique living beings. This must be done with great care, with acknowledgment of the complex issues thus raised and, above all, with a commitment to respect, nurture, and love the life thus created."

"I will never forget the moment when I first held her in my arms, in Jouy-en-Josas, France, on April 29, 2000. My apprehensive anticipation was replaced by joy and excitement..."
-- from Eduardo Kac: GFP Bunny

"Telepresence and Bio Art: Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots" by Eduardo Kac

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