Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 6 Biotechnology and Art

(Eduardo Kac's GFP Bunny, a fluorescent green bunny made by inserting
 the genes from glowing jellyfish into the embryo of an albino bunny)
Subject to widespread public scrutiny and ethical controversy, the study and practice of genetic manipulation has come to be considered both a science and an art. Recognizing the controversial nature of this type of experimentation, artists have entered laboratories in order to create pieces of both scientific and artistic significance. While the use of life as a medium can yield artistically and socially powerful results, such as the societal commentary achieved by the GFP Bunny, there exists an inherent ethical issue to this practice, namely, animal rights and the possible detrimental implications of our scientific hubris. 
(Scene from blockbuster film, Jurassic Park, Park scientists use frog DNA
 and extracted dinosaur DNA from mosquito's
 to create a dinosaur, the dangers of scientific hubris are seen later
in the film when the dinosaurs run wild)
An aspiring doctor and scientist myself, I focus more on the possible benefits of genetic experimentation than the possible detrimental effects of this revolutionary field. Although I think there exists a public fear of this type of experimental science, seen in films like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, so far, advances in genetic experimentation have been mainly beneficial to society. For example, the genetic modification of plants and crops has allowed for the mass production of food and, thus, the alleviation of world hunger. 
Going back to the topic of Jurassic Park, I particularly find the study of genetic manipulation in zygotes to produce hybrid animals or prokarya fascinating. Professor Vesna's mention of Eduardo Kac's GFP Bunny and Joe Davis's Microvenus, reminded me of a similar revolutionary genetic experiment done to a sheep embryo, producing the first ever scientifically created animal clone.
(The process in which the first animal clone,
Dolly the sheep was made)
(Time magazine cover touching on
one of the many societal implications that
come from this sort of extreme
Dolly the sheep was created by inserting the genetic material of a pre-existing sheep into another sheep mother's embryo, producing a perfect clone of the pre- existing sheep. While Kac's bunny was produced for solely artistic purposes, I think that this method of zygotic manipulation has many theoretical application's such as the creation of hybrid animals that cannot be produced in nature, along the line of the dinosaurs created from extraction of ancient blood from mosquito's and frog DNA.

Works Cited
"Cloning Dolly the Sheep." Cloning Dolly the Sheep. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 
"GFP BUNNY." GFP BUNNY. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 
HowStuffWorks., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 
"Microvenus: Joe Davis : Genetics and Culture." Microvenus: Joe Davis : Genetics and Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
Vesna, Victoria, narr. “BioTech Art Lectures I-V.” N.p., . web. 5 Nov 2012.

Photo Links

1 comment:

  1. I agree that there are ethical concerns regarding the animal experimentations, but I also think that the benefit of such experiments outweigh the harm. The human species have benefited hugely from biotechnology development effort, and I think the ultimate goal is to find a balance. Haoan Wang