Biological Lasers – first step towards Cyclops?

It’s not science-fiction anymore, it’s a fact. Scientists have found a way to make lasers out of living cells. Kidney cells, of all candidates, have been utilized to prove that a biological laser is feasible.

Two physicists Malte Gather and Seok Hyun Yun were behind this project, they explained that:

Almost any organism, from bacteria to higher mammalians, can be programmed to synthesize such luminescent proteins, so we wondered if GFP could be used to amplify light and build biological lasers.

And that’s exactly what they did. They took human embryonic kidney cells and reprogrammed them with an enhanced version of the GFP gene. The cells where then sandwiched between highly reflective mirrors and a blue light were pulsed through the chamber.

The cells absorbed and re-emitted a green light enough to be used as a laser by amplifying it with mirrors. Unlike regular lasers that wear out with use, the new biological laser is able to “self-heal” and go on.

One of the practical uses this new technology offers is its potential to help reveal biological processes within the cell as the light emitted contained information about the insides of the cell as Gather told MSNBC.

The biological laser could also lead to new treatment for cancer patients, using light to activate drugs that attack cancer cells. Don’t you just love science? So this means that a human eye capable of projecting a laser blast can now be engineered and implanted on a human? (ehem X-Men!)

Read more about this new biological laser through the paper published online by Nature.

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