Little Green Bacteria

Foundations | Little Green Bacteria Click for larger version of notes (68K) When I first heard Paul Brehm [then at Tufts University] mention green fluorescent protein at a seminar in the late 1980s, I got excited; I knew it had the potential to be an expression marker. I talked with Doug Prasher, who was trying to isolate a gfp cDNA, and we promised to keep in touch. But we lost track of each other after I married and went to do my sabbatical at my wife's university. In September 1992, I

Sep 8, 2003
Martin Chalfie

Foundations | Little Green Bacteria


When I first heard Paul Brehm [then at Tufts University] mention green fluorescent protein at a seminar in the late 1980s, I got excited; I knew it had the potential to be an expression marker. I talked with Doug Prasher, who was trying to isolate a gfp cDNA, and we promised to keep in touch. But we lost track of each other after I married and went to do my sabbatical at my wife's university.

In September 1992, I told a graduate student on rotation, Ghia Euskirchen, about my idea of using Aequorea victoria GFP as an expression marker. Not having heard from Prasher and assuming that he failed, we checked MedLine; he had published the full-length sequence earlier that year.


Douglas sent us the clone on Sept. 10. On Oct. 14, Ghia asked me to come to the fluorescent microscope. [I saw] beautifully green E. coli. I was elated. This picture was taken that midnight."

--Martin Chalfie, Columbia University

M. Chalfie et al., "Green fluorescent protein as a marker for gene expression," Science, 263:802-5, 1994.

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