The aesthetic possibilities of bioart expanded when Roger Tsien’s team of scientists painted an island sunset with bacteria infused with fluorescent proteins, which evidenced the versatility of the medium as well as the limited art skillz of biochemists.
Fluorescence occurs when a substance absorbs light of one wavelength then emits it in a different wavelength. It’s the same principle fluorescent lights are based upon, though in this case the fluorescence was first isolated from a jellyfish (Aequorea victoria).
Tsien was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2008 for his discovery of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). The whole spectrum of colors is now available, making this medium more similar to traditional paint pigments than to some more monstrous BioArt creations.
In addition, there are a number of fluorescing transgenic pets available. In addition to the standard transgenic mice (dubbed NeonMice), an individual can purchase green-fluorescent pets such rabbits, pigs, fish. More recently, fluorescing cats were engineered to be resistant to FIV and possibly advance AIDS research.
Some may say that using life to paint is a task more suitable to deity rather than man. The advancement of bioengineering technology has led to the creation of fields which have revolutionized science. For example, optogenetics - in which light-sensitive neurons in genetically engineered animals can be turned off and on using fiber optics - was chosen as the Method of the Year in 2010 by Nature Methods and allow neuroscientists unparalleled access into the inner workings of the mind.