Skip to main content

What's That You Want to Genetically Engineer? God?


SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 16, 2004 PRNewswire via COMTEX — Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats announces a major simultaneous breakthrough in the fields of science and religion, expected to end the conflict between reason and faith.


Keats realized that if he could make an educated guess as to where God fit on the tree of life he could use a method of genetic engineering called continuous in vitro evolution to mutate other species into God.

Keats came to believe that God is genetically most closely related to blue-green algae, the first organism found in the fossil record. If God came first, Keats reasoned, said deity would be most closely related to whichever species came second.

Keats acquired a clonal strain of the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon and then set about mutating it. “I figured that God thrives on worship. So I prepared four petri dishes, and then, for seven days and nights, exposed three of them to pre-recorded prayer — Jewish, Christian, and Muslim — while the fourth served as a control.” (His control group was raised exclusively on talk radio.)

Keats decided to use omnipresence as an initial measure of godliness, since it''''s scientifically quantifiable, he says. “By that measure, divinity becomes statistical: You can see if a species is evolving to become more godlike simply by looking for abnormal population growth.” Via some unknown mechanism, the cyanobacteria exposed to the Christian prayer known as the Kyrie significantly outgrew both the talk-radio control group and the two other test groups.


Try to match the songs! It’s fun!


1. “Bark at the Moon” (Ozzy Osbourne)

2. “Forest Hymn” (Deep Forest)

3. “Nightswimming” (REM)

4. “Blue Angel” (Squirrel Nut Zippers)

5. “Empire of the Damned” (Sepultura)

6. “Fly (Through the Starry Night)” (2 Brothers on the 4th Floor)

7. “The Greatest Love of All” (Whitney Houston)

8. “A Rush Of Blood To The Head” (Coldplay)

9. “All I Want for Christmas” (Alvin & the Chipmunks)

10. “(Look) in the Mirror” (Thom Rotella)





1. C

2. G

3. A

4. F

5. E

6. H

7. J

8. D

9. I

10. B

The Scan

Rise of B.1.617.2 in the UK

According to the Guardian, UK officials expect the B.1.617.2 variant to soon be the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 there.

Anne Schuchat to Retire

Anne Schuchat is retiring after more than 30 years at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Politico reports.

US to Share More Vaccines

CNN reports that the US will share 20 million doses of the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines with other countries.

PNAS Papers on Gene Therapy Platform, Aspergillus Metabolome, Undernutrition Model Microbiome

In PNAS this week: approach to deliver protein-based treatments to cells, pan-secondary metabolome of Aspergillus, and more.