The things people are doing with bacteria these days. A team of nanobiologists have hewn the image of Mario, perhaps the greatest videogame protagonist ever, from a set of biological parts called BioBricks. The team, who are from the University of Osaka, genetically engineered bacteria to express fluorescent proteins and carotenoid pigments to create the image.
Team Osaka submitted the project for the 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, in which students are issued a standard set of biological parts and challenged to to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. Those biological parts - BioBricks - were conceived by Tom Knight, Christopher Voight, PhD, and Drew Endy, PhD. Endy is now an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford.