Just think about all the possibilities especially around Christmas! Researchers have created a living "neon sign" composed of millions of bacteria cells that periodically fluoresce in unison like blinking light bulbs. Their achievement involved attaching a fluorescent protein to the biological clocks of the bacteria, synchronizing the clocks of the thousands of bacteria within a colony, then synchronizing thousands of the blinking bacterial colonies to glow on and off in unison. The bacterial signs are not only a visual display of how researchers in the new field of synthetic biology can engineer living cells like machines, but will likely lead to some real life applications. This development illustrates how basic, quantitative knowledge of cellular circuitry can be applied to the new discipline of synthetic biology,” said James Anderson, who oversees synthetic biology grants at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partially funded the research.

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