Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology / Edition 1

Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology / Edition 1

by Marc Zimmer
     
 

Marc Zimmer has written the first popular science book on an amazing new area of biotechnology that will help fight cancer, create new products, improve agriculture, and combat terrorism. For more than one hundred and sixty million years, green fluorescent protein has existed in one species of jellyfish. In 1994 it was cloned, giving rise to a host of useful and

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Overview

Marc Zimmer has written the first popular science book on an amazing new area of biotechnology that will help fight cancer, create new products, improve agriculture, and combat terrorism. For more than one hundred and sixty million years, green fluorescent protein has existed in one species of jellyfish. In 1994 it was cloned, giving rise to a host of useful and potentially revolutionary applications in biotechnology. Today researchers are using this ancient glowing protein to pursue exciting new discoveries, from tracking the process of bacterial infection to detecting chemical and biological agents planted by terrorists.
A recognized expert in this field, Zimmer begins with an overview of the many uses of these glowing genes to kill and image cancer cells, monitor bacterial infections, and light up in the presence of pollution. He then discusses the biological reasons that glowing proteins first evolved in jellyfish and fireflies, and looks at the history of bioluminescence and the dedicated scientists who devoted their careers to explaining this phenomenon. The story of how "glowing genes" were located, cloned, and then mass-produced is in itself a fascinating tale.
Zimmer next turns to the serious, and not-so-serious, uses of fluorescent proteins. In agriculture it may soon be possible to produce crops that signal dryness by glowing. In industry a red fluorescent protein originally found in corals may find a use in sheep as a substitute for environmentally harmful wool dyes.
Furthermore, the glowing gene revolution has led to significantly more humane treatment of laboratory animals. No longer must animal lives be sacrificed to understand disease processes; now researchers can observe the spread of cancer and infections by treating animals with green fluorescent genes and similar proteins.
In the fight against terrorism a glowing gene has been created that lights up in the presence of anthrax spores, chemical warfare agents, and landmines. And in a completely different arena, we have already seen the emergence of "transgenic art" in Alba, the fluorescent bunny rabbit.
Glowing Genes is a highly informative, fascinating, and entertaining read about a burgeoning area of biotechnology that promises soon to revolutionize our world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591022534
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
02/25/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
250
Sales rank:
961,159
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.71(d)

Meet the Author

Marc Zimmer, Ph.D., is the Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Teaching Professor and professor of chemistry at Connecticut College. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, and he has published more than fifty scientific papers, mainly on the topic of bioluminescence.

Table of Contents

1Living light15
2From Pliny's walking stick to burning angles27
3Using fireflies to look for life on Mars?39
4Shimomura's "squeezate"51
5Where is the GFP recipe? : let's photocopy it69
6The birth of the green fluorescent protein revolution77
7Thirsty potatoes and green blood91
8Alba, the fluorescent rabbit107
9Light in a can113
10Red sheep from Russia123
11ANDi the green monkey and a yellow pig133
12Cameleons, FLIP, FRET, FRAP, and camgaroos145
13Cancer157
14Glowing genes in medicine169
15Defense, security, and bioterrorism185
16Last light193

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