Autogenetic Paintings: visualizing bacterial communication

Symbio3 Symbio2 Symbio1 The starting recipe here is relatively simple, the outcome most definitely not. Two initially white pigmented bacteria Erwinia carotovora and  Chromobacterium violaceum,  CV026, (or two living and “intelligent” pigments),  have been mixed together. CV026, is a mute strain, its ability to communicate with itself, and other bacteria having been genetically disabled.  If however, it detects communication signals from other bacteria it will respond to these by producing a purple pigment.  Erwinia carotovora is an unrelated species that produces such a communication signal. The painting begins life as a white splodge, as if an artist had painted white acrylic or oil paint onto a canvas, but unlike conventional paints, as the two living pigments interact, and communicate with each other, a complex and unique autogenic glyph emerges. I like to think of these as bacterial versions of Keith Tyson’s Nature Paintings.

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