Designer Bacteria

Synthetic biologists work on designing living cells, but engineered bacteria don't usually come up when you think of "designer" things. This year however, a synthetic biology design is up for a Brit Insurance Design of the Year award, up against the Lanvin Spring collection, Angry Birds, and Rock Band 3! Designers Daisy Ginsberg and James King worked in collaboration with the 2009 Cambridge iGEM team (including awesome blogger Lab Rat) to imagine ways that people could use bacteria engineered to produce pigments in the future. Check out their video about the science and design of E. chromi:

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Interesting... Unfortunately, the eejits will scream "IT'S UNNATURAL! ONLY DOG IS ALLOWED TO DO THAT SORT OF THING!" and completely present things out of context, while misrepresenting the facts.
Fortunately, this is in Britain, so there may not be actual death threats against participants (sigh).

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 11 Feb 2011 #permalink

So far have received no death threats!

Also no one has asked me to make any dogs go purple...

Purple bacteria are, in my opinion, slightly *more* natural than mobile-phone games, which is the competition that we are up against...

I'd love to see this, but the graphic doesn't open as a video for me. Is it being blocked by AdBlocker or something?

By NoniMausa (not verified) on 11 Feb 2011 #permalink

Orange Liberation Front? Really? I guess I don't understand the second half of the video. I'm totally down with chromatic engineering of bacteria (seems like you a "You had me at hello" sort of situation), but I'm not sure why the timeline with the fantastical speculations is necessary.

By dwayne stephenson (not verified) on 12 Feb 2011 #permalink

A lot of those crazy ideas in the timeline (I think) were ideas that the iGEM students came up with during a workshop designed to make them think creatively about future implications of their work. It's easier to understand the possible short-term uses but difficult to imagine what the future will be like. Some of them can get silly perhaps, but it's a great exercise for any student and biological engineer.

can you guys make some retroviruses that implant glow in the dark or UV reactive pigment sequences into my dermal cells, please. that'd be cool. and i'm jealous. when i was at cambridge we weren't writing bio code.