MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: Genetic engineering--replacing melanin with chlorophyl

Area: Genetics
Posted By: Dr. Ofer Markman, Post Doc, Physiology, Hebrew U. School of medicine
Date: Sun Oct 5 03:07:25 1997
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 874299726.Ge

Dear Patrick,

You asked

"Is such a thing at least theoretically possible?"

And the answer is complex, Exchanging melanin gene to chlorophyl is not that easy because chlorophil is not a gene. Chlorophyl is a chemical that sits in the complex protein of the photosystems of the plant chloroplasts.
In order to do so you would have to put the whole mechanism to produce chlorophylls in the engineered human-being. Whould the resultant develop green skin - that is another question.

As for technical language

Try Photosynthesis definitions

Neverthless to get a feeling of what can be done see a nice idea on porphirins in blood where they are talking about the possibility to make such molecule fluoresce.

I would also send you to read on gene therapy which is a very wide subject to which you could find but a nice start would be UCSD Gene theraphy HomePage and also in Original Summaries of Selected CANCERLIT Records on Gene Therapy

Please feel free to call me at any time
Ofer Markman

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