Jellyfish - Green Fluorescent Protein

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The first in our Nobel Prize series, here we celebrate the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. It was awarded to Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, Roger Y. Tsien for the isolation of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and the subsequent development that enabled it to be used as tagging tool to observe biological processes occurring inside cells.

GFP got its name because when exposed to a certain kind of light, it glows neon green. Shazam! GFP is commonly used as a way to identify proteins and subcellular compartments in the cell, and has been used to make glowing bacteria, fish, mice, and even cats! GFP has been engineered to emit a broad spectrum of colors and thus provides researchers with an immense tool kit to study science.

So what is a Jellyfish doing here? GFP was discovered in that lovable creature Aequorea victoria, a jellyfish that lives off the West coast of North America.