“New and almost unlimited powers”: the pervading influence of the Frankenstein myth in modern science

Image: Multimedia artist Eduardo Kac is known for his 2000 creation of a genetically modified white rabbit, named Alba, that expressed green fluorescent protein within every cell of her body. This photograph shows the appearance of Alba under light within the blue to ultraviolet range. Created during a time where genetic manipulation/understanding was becoming more advanced, this art piece sought to foster dialogue between the scientific community and the public. Even importantly, the work attempted to convey the responsibilities that come with the drastic manipulation of life. The manipulation of animal genes, such as what was done to create Alba, continues to be considered highly controversial and reflects one of the lingering myths that arose from Shelley’s Frankenstein: the manipulation of life is to be feared. Photograph by Eduardo Kac, via Purdue University. 2000.