Underwater fireworks!

Hello Followers,

Time for a new blog so without further ado, I want to talk about something different than last couple of weeks. As you might have noticed, last few weeks I’ve been talking alot about concepts to increase our health or even seek eternal life. This week I want to take you guys back to one of the core concepts of my internship: fluorescence and in general bioluminescence. In a modern world where science is getting visualized by fluorescent proteins for tracking (bio)molecules-dynamics and labeling you might wonder where these fluorescent molecules come from? Do we just invent them from scratch or are they harvested from for example: fireflies?

The actual answer lies in the sea and that’s what I want to inform you guys about this week. Did you know 80 to 90% of all underwater life display forms of bioluminescence? Scientifically speaking the most famous bioluminescent organism is probably the jellyfish Aequorea victoria. This jellyfish generated the foundation for the (well-known) fluorescent protein GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein (catchy name right?)) which even won the noble prize for 2008.

Besides using these shiny molecules for science, the underwater organisms use these forms of bioluminesence for communicating, getting attention or scaring/defending themselves and this gives just beautiful footage underwater for the human eye prooving that our world can be a breathtaking place. Just take a look at the following TED talk and see for yourself how beautiful nature can actually be.

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5 gedachten over “Underwater fireworks!

  1. Hi

    I did not know that, although I did know that some animals of the sea “give” light. With the slogan: “everyday is a fine day to learn something new” I would like to say thank you for giving me more inside in that shiny world :).

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  2. Yes, I made this blog more to show you guys and girls how the wonderful world of bioluminescence can look like rather than giving you something to think about or discuss this week. Sometimes just taking a look and admiring the beauty of nature itself can say more than a 1000 words or discussions ;).

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  3. Actually a couple of weeks ago, there were some guest speakers in the program “De Schuur van Scheire” on the Belgian television and they were also talking about bioluminescence in fish.
    Also, the knowledge that we currently have about bioluminescence has also been misused by humans, in my opinion. I have also made a post on my blog (which was also based on a TED-talk) that was handling about the genetic modification of animals. There are some researches where a bioluminescent protein was implanted in the genome of the animals (i.e. mouse, cats and monkeys). Consequently, they lighted up in the dark. Apparently, American people can even buy little genetic modified fish (with an implanted bioluminescent protein) in some states. In fact, we are using the power to modify animals to what we actually want. What do you think about this point of view of bioluminescence?
    In my opinion we just have to leave the animals alone and don’t spend the time to do everything that we just want. They are already suffering enough in nature and they are not living on this planet to be used as our playthings.

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    • Modifying them just for personal use and to have a fun shining pet is totally out of order, however to use them for scientific purposes (if the research really matters) is ok in my opinion. But indeed we shouldn’t modify everything just because we can or like or next up would shining humans.

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