Sunday, May 8, 2016

Biotech and Art

Biotechnology and art have been integrated with each other for many decades due to the evolution of biological studies and technological advances that make it possible to genetically enhance or alter the composition and body of organisms. This week's lecture, Professor Vesna introduced Eduardo Kac who created a genetically modified bunny that gives off a fluorescent color, ie glows in the dark.

Alba, the fluorescent bunny by Eduardo Kac
Technology has created many opportunities for scientists to help find cures for diseases and indicate where diseases are forming. However, there is some ethical and societal backlash against transgenic artists whose goals are to use modified genes to create unique beings. There are criticisms of using such technology for art as very irrational and silly because it is not aiding society in any manner. However, artists counteract and respond by saying doing this is a form of expression, using technology in a different manner that is not necessarily scientific.

There are other negative about genetically modifying organisms such as plants. There are these super weeds that are growing in Iowa that take over farmland and continuously dominate and poison crops to die out. Further research into these super weeds indicate that their genetic mutations could be aided through fertilizers and resistant to weed killers.
A pretty disgusting video of the decomposition of McDonald's foods (the fries are really concerning)

In an even more disgusting example, the above video shows the aging of McDonald's food, specifically the Big Mac and fries. After weeks of aging, the foods showed no signs of mold or decomposition, which brings the following question: what is being put into our foods?

Planet of the Apes
A more romanticized version of the effects of genetic mutation is the film Planet of the Apes. In the original 1968 movie, 3 astronauts become captive on a planet where apes are the rulers and humans are slaves. This can be seen as more a less a commentary of how humans treat animals for their own purposes, but the shoes are now reversed. A lot of backlash of genetic exploration has dealt with animal cruelty and the ethics behind using animals for the betterment of humankind, despite the animals sharing similar genetic characteristics. If these animals are so similar in genetic composition, why do we treat them so poorly and think of them as equal? This topic I feel is one of the most controversial and still needs to be explored more thoroughly as to what boundaries should be drawn without going too far.


Kac, Eduardo. "GFP BUNNY." GFP BUNNY. Kac Web, 2000. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

Yeates, Ed. "'Super Weed' Taking Strong Hold in Utah |" 'Super Weed' Taking Strong Hold in Utah | KSL, 08 June 2009. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

High, Kathy. "How Did Matilda, Tara and Star Barbie Become Transgenic Rats?" Embracing Animal. Feb. 1995. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.

Stutz, Bruce. "Seed Magazineabout." Wanted: GM Seeds for Study § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM. SEED MAGAZINE, 10 July 2010. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

 Uconlineprogram. "5 Bioart Pt1 1280x720." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

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