NABOKV-L post 0014439, Tue, 19 Dec 2006 10:00:03 -0500

Nabokov meets Nike! (butterflies)
[EDNOTE. Sandy Klein forwards a link to "Table of Malcontents" (a blog by John Brownlee, with Lore Sjöberg, Lisa Katayama, and Annalee Newitz, at Wired News), which alludes to VN the lepidopterist and also, perhaps, to VN the exhibitor of "scientific irony." -- SES]

Monday, 18 December 2006
Butterfly Wings Genetically Tattooed

Nabokov meets Nike! The day may be fast approaching when the wings of butterflies — so delicate that even touching them can cripple the insect for life — may be burdened with corporate advertisements and slogans.
The University of Buffalo have created the world's first genetically modified butterfly, implanted with special fluorescent genes. By using a laser to stencil a design on the surface of the butterfly's wing, these scientists can create fluorescent brands and markings.
Although the Telegraph article we're linking ponders the advertising import of the research, the team itself isn't trying to brand butterflies with slogans. Rather, they are simply attempting to test gene function, and activating fluorescent genes gives visible results. In an interesting display of scientific irony, a butterfly was fluorescently tattooed with a silhouette of another butterfly. Meta!

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