You just run off the code on a special DNA printer containing cartridges filled with liquid A’s, C’s, G’s, and T’s. Zayner’s yeast suffuses the beer with a gauzy haze.
Then you insert the new DNA into whichever organism you want to modify. I have no idea which species of jellyfish the GFP gene came from, but my hunch is that it has never been a regular part of the human diet. Genetic engineers love GFP because it’s such an easy visual.
Just like that, this crunchy Vermonter who always shunned GMOs filled his belly with them, and starts looking forward to the week ahead.
I’d always thought of genetic engineering as something done in million-dollar labs by corporate powerhouses like Monsanto.
In this case, he genetically engineered a common brewer’s yeast by adding a jellyfish’s green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene that he ordered online.
As long as you know the DNA sequence of the gene you want—the A’s, C’s, G’s, and T’s of the genetic code—you no longer need the actual critter the gene came from.
For what he would call a science experiment and I would call conceptual art, he removed dead skin cells from his forearm (just rub the same spot with a toothbrush 200 times) and used a tattoo needle to punch jellyfish DNA into his skin.
The ODIN sells pre-engineered GFP yeast () online, along with DIY Crispr kits (0), fluorescent-yeast-engineering kits (0), something called the Amino DNA Playground (9), and a complete Genetic Engineering Home Lab Kit (9) stocked with pipettes, tubes, scales, antibiotics, agar, light-activated bacteria, bioluminescent bacteria, Crispr, and a PCR machine, which makes copies of DNA through polymerase chain reaction.
The ODIN’s clients include community colleges, high school kids, and mysterious individuals.
He started out traditionally enough: wunderkind Ph. candidate at the University of Chicago and then research fellow at NASA, where he adapted organisms for life on Mars.
But then, in 2015, he veered off to become the pierced Prometheus of genetic engineering, bringing it down to us mortals from the labs of academia.