For anyone who has grown up around LEGOs, you know how much fun they are to build and play with. LEGOs’ versatility allows you to make anything out of them, with enough patience and imagination. You might also know how much it hurts when you step on one. In the case of one of Pelling Lab’s 2011 projects, however, if you stepped on these LEGOs, you just might kill them.
Pelling Lab, a ‘laboratory for biophysical manipulation’, has genetically modified these LEGO minifig sculptures to become ‘semi-living’. As viewed from the close-up image, the green fluorescent glow they emanate is actually a living skin, constructed from combining human cells with jellyfish DNA and altered to glow green. The intensity of the green light is due to the high density of cells that coat the LEGO figurine. The process used to fully grow these synthetic skins takes only a few weeks, and is ‘easily manufactured and modified’ by Pelling Lab for separate “scientific” purposes. Not only do these minifigs demonstrate the adaptability and applications of mixing artificial DNA, but also manage to anthropomorphize LEGO a little more by adding some real ‘life’ into them.
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