Genetically Modified Tree of Life is an interactive display for the Center for Postnatural History in Pittsburgh. “The PostNatural refers to living organisms that have been altered through processes such as selective breeding or genetic engineering.” [www.postnatural.org]
Model organisms are the building blocks for these organisms, also known as Genetically Modified Organisms.
This app shows the tree of life ending in every model organism used to make these GMOs, as well as allowing people to select organisms to read the story behind them.
History museums are a fun and interesting avenue for people to experience things which existed long ago. If people want to experience things which have happened more recently, however, there is one outlet – the Center for Postnatural History. “The PostNatural refers to living organisms that have been altered through processes such as selective breeding or genetic engineering.” [www.postnatural.org]. Children’s imaginations light up at the prospect of mammoths walking the earth, or terrifyingly large dinosaurs from thousands of years ago, but today is no less exciting. Mutants roam the earth, large and small, some ordinary and some fantastic.
Take, for example, the BioSteel Goat. These goats have their genes genetically modified with spider genes so that spider web fibers are produced in their milk. They are milked, and that milk is processed, creating huge amounts of incredibly strong fiber which is stronger than steel.
The Genetically Modified Tree of Life is an interactive display which I created for the Center for Postnatural History under the advisement of Richard Pell. This app will exist in its final form as an interactive installation on a touch screen which will allow visitors to come up and learn more about certain genetically modified organisms in a fun and informative way. The app visualizes the tree of life as seen through the perspective of genetically modified organisms by showing the genetic path of every model organism from the root of all life to the modern day in the form of a tree. These model organism’s genes are what scientists use to create all genetically modified organisms as they are representative of a wide array of genetic diversity. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to drag around the tree, mixing up the branches of the model organisms, as well as selecting individual genetically modified organisms from the lower portion of the screen to learn more about them. These are pulled from the Center for Postnatural History’s Database. The objective of this piece is to be educational and fun in an active state, as well as being visually attractive in a passive state.
Visualization of the tree of life as seen by GMOs.