Flowers are often considered
some of the most beautiful
creations in this world. I aim to
create a garden containing a
variety of transgenic plants that
phenotypically express aequorin
(i.e. a luminescent protein) initially
found from Aequorea victoria
(jellyfish) using methods of
recombining DNA. My project
aims to illustrate how far modern
society has come to
understanding, developing, and
synthesizing methods and ideas of
technology and biology and how it
has truly become one of seamless
precision, beauty, and simplicity.
Ultimately, however, the garden
aims to explicate the ethical
unnatural implications that
modern science has provoked
upon our world.
The creation of genetic engineering (i.e. gene
manipulation) is a response to the natural barriers that
normally prevent the exchange of genetic information
between unrelated organisms. The rapid development of
our understanding of biology and the technology we have
developed to study it have led us to powerful tools in
conducting methods of gene manipulation. In essence, we
are now able to transfer genetic information from one
organism to an unrelated one ultimately creating a truly
I am interested in educating the public about two things
in relation to my garden: (1) the birth of biotechnology
and its power to (and has) affect the very way we live as a
species and (2) the dangers that pose a threat to our
Have you ever had a flu shot, known a person with
diabetes who requires injections of insulin, taken a
hope pregnancy test, used an antibiotic to treat a
bacterial infection, sipped a glass of wine, eaten
cheese, or made bread? If so, you have experienced
the benefits of biotechnology. Can you imagine a
world free of serious diseases, where food is
abundant for everyone and the environment is free
of pollution? These exact scenarios are what people
in the biotechnology industry envision for the
future as they dedicate their lives to this science.
(1) Digest plasmid and DNA
containing GFP with restriction
enzyme to generate DNA
fragments with single-strand
complimentary (sticky) ends.
(2) Anneal plasmid vector and DNA
fragment containing GFP
(assuming we’ve tested and found
fragment containing GFP using gel
electrophoresis and southern
blotting or PCR) with DNA liagase
to create phosphodiester bonds
(i.e. to make bond stronger).
(3) Coat metal particles with
chimeric DNA and “shoot” into
plant cell via particle gun.
(4) Plate “shot” plant cells on a
medium and it will regenerate
transgenic plant directly from the
transformed cells via totipotency.
The garden will be placed in
a dim room with a black
light shining over the
transgenic plants for all
visitors to enjoy.
I will have a pamphlet that
outlines the procedure
conceptually (as I did here).
The pamphlet will also
contain a word of warning
as to my purpose for this
project explicating the need
for public awareness into
this powerful science and its
affects on our modern
We must understand that science is crucially consequential to society
because it is essentially an intensifying source of both benefits and
risks. The positives include more effective and cheaper
pharmaceutical products; better understanding of the causes of
diseases (such as cancer); more abundant food crops; even new
approaches to the energy crisis. These of course are envisioned in the
“best-case scenarios” for the future application of biotechnology such
as genetic engineering. “Worst-case scenarios” include worldwide
epidemics caused by newly created pathogens; the triggering of
catastrophic ecological imbalances; bio-warfare; the power to
dominate and control the human spirit. In fact, many events that
humanity formerly deemed as an act of God or nature can now be
justified by human intervention with the natural world. We must
move forward with heed and caution. Ultimately, both the best-case
and worst-case scenarios are largely speculative, but the gap between
them only symbolizes the large degree of uncertainty that still looms
over this major step in science.
1) “The Manipulation of Genes.” Cohen, Stanley. Scientific Ameican. July
2) “The Recombinant-DNA Debate.” Grobstein, Clifford. Scientific
American. July 1977.
3) “Potential Biohazards of Recombinant DNA Molecules.” Paul Berg;
David Baltimore; Herbert Boyer; Stanley Cohen; Ronald Davis; Norton
Zinder. Scientific American. July 1974.
4) Introduction to Biotechnology (second edition). William Thieman and
Michael Palladino. Pearson Education Inc. 2009.
“Fluorescent Protein Application in Plants.” Berg R.H. and Beachy R.N. Methods of Cell Biology. 2008.
“The Uses of GFP in Plants.” Jim Haselhoff and Kirby R. Siemering.
“GFP in Plants.” Jim Haselhoff and Brad Amos. TIG August 1995 Vol. 11, No. 8.
“Recombinant DNA Technology.” Schering-Plough. June 2009.
“Potential effects of recombinant DNA organisms on ecosystems and their components.” Mark
Wiliamson. Trends in Biotechnology. Vol. 6, No. 4. April 1998
“GFP.” Marc Zimmer. 18 November 2009.
“GMO Safety.” Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 9 February 2009. http://www.gmo-
“Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics.” Linda Glenn. June 2004.
“Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Agriculture, and Law.” Goldberg, Bob. HC 70ALecture Notes Week 1
and 2. January 2010.
Daisy Robinton; Jordan Fischer; Kristin Gill. HC 70A Discussion Notes, Week 1-3. January 2010.