GFP Jellyfish

This "DNA dot-to-dot" digital drawing is made from the sequence of the jellyfish GFP gene. Green Fluorescent Protein or GFP was originally isolated from the crystal jelly, scientific name Aequoria victoria, a bioluminescent hydrozoan jellyfish found in the coastal waters off the west coast of North America.

GFP has been used in a wide range of cell and molecular biology applications. For example, it is commonly fused to other proteins, enabling them to be visualised in the cell using methods such as fluorescence microscopy. It can also be used as a reporter to measure gene expression or as a marker to help identify different cell types. In fact I have used GFP in my laboratory for many different applications. 

The importance of GFP to biological and medical research was recognised by the award of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists who were involved in its discovery and development, Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien.


The GFP Jellyfish image is made from a single line using the nucleotide sequence of the original GFP gene. I used the GenBank sequence M62654.1 that contains 5170 nucleotides of genomic sequence from the A. victoria GFP gene, including its 3 coding exons. All bases of the gene sequence are represented as coloured dots joined by a single line. The line is drawn in such a way that it makes the picture of a crystal jelly. The line colour gradually changes from a light shade of green to a darker shade of green. The dots that represent each base of the sequence are colour-coded: A = green, C = blue, G = yellow, T = red. The video below shows the picture being drawn.

You can purchase this artwork in a number of different formats from Redbubble or Society6 using the links below.