back to article Living, biological raygun produced in lab

Beings or creatures able to emit beams of focused energy from their own living bodies: fiction, right? Comic-book, X Men stuff, right? Wrong. Boffins in America have announced that they have successfully produced laser light from living cells under laboratory conditions, paving the way - they say - for living lasers to be …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's my prediction of the number of commenters who will mention sharks before the first comment shows up.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge


      The comemntards appear to have outdone your wildest expectations.

    2. Martin Budden Bronze badge


      And it was your own.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    "grown within human patients, or for the production of living machinery able to interface with optical communications networks"

    I'm sure Captain Cyborg, dear old Kev, is watching with interest. It's been a while since his last publicity stunt...sorry, research project was all over breakfast TV. With any luck he'll miss the fibre ports and accidentally plug himself in the mains!

  3. Why Me

    I for one....

    Welcome our single cell overlords

  4. Thomas 4

    A glorious day for science

    Who needs sharks with frikkin' laser beams attached to their heads when you can have SHARKS WITH BUILT IN LASERS!

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge


      My thought exactly was "and now for the shark cells!"

      But there's a minor drawback: the cell itself ain't capable of producing light. I'ts still GFP, which needs to be excited to re-emit light. What this does is it takes in energetic but un-coherent light and re-emits less energetic but coherent light (aka LASER).

      Also I'm really disturbed by the growing use of the verb "lazing" these days.

      Goggles for, well, d'uh, LASER.

  5. Qneiform

    no LP no comment

    phew! I saw this story accreting on google news without any sign of El Reg joining the party and thought (with an inner John Thaw growl) "Lewis!"

  6. Red Bren

    Which meme to use

    I for one welcome sharks with frikkin lasers

  7. johnnytruant

    I for one

    welcome our new laser-enhanced overlords.

    how long until I can get my shark upgraded?

  8. Pete 2

    Would be more worried

    If this had been found in the seas off Fukushima

  9. Arnold Lieberman

    Where are the ends of a sphere?

    Without going round in circles.

  10. Code Monkey
    Thumb Up

    Excellent stuff!

    Excellent stuff! I'll have a gross. Send them immediately to the shark tank in my hollowed out volcano.

  11. Thomas Swann


    What are the shark-based applications?

  12. Anonymous Coward


  13. Thecowking
    Thumb Up


    Laser Eye surgery that can do what it says on the tin!

  14. Andy B 1

    Animated adverts

    Aargh! Having an animated advert beside an article guarantees I won't read it. And it even shows up in Safari's Reader mode.

    Death is too good, etc. etc.

    Rev. Andy

  15. Bill B

    Where's the 'Shark' icon?

    Nuff said

  16. Spartacus


    Wot no mention of where my sharks are?

  17. Freak!

    Laser Sharks

    So... when can I get these fitted to the sharks guarding my lair?

  18. Caff

    laser sharks

    No need for would be evil doers to fiddle about attempting to strap lasers on the sharks backs, now they can just grow them.

  19. Spiracle

    Obligatory Dr. Evil ref.

    Insert your own "Sharks with frickin' laser beams' joke/quote here.

  20. Bunker_Monkey

    I for one..

    .. would like to be the first to welcome our cellular laser emitting overlords.

  21. Fresnel

    Practical Applications?

    Using GFP modded cells as a gain medium is novel. But the idea of Injecting gene-modded cells into a patient for 'imaging'! Apart from the legal and safety issues - where exactly do you apply them to form a laser cavity and to what end? O er....

    Apart from media whoring to generate publicity - this seems like a pointless demo. A candidate for an Ignoble Prize.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I read it until it said "placed it"

    Not interesting, move along.

    Now if the cells form a natural tissue which can amplify coherent radiation...

    1. Martin Budden Bronze badge


      I will be impressed when the mirrors are grown inside the cell. Until then... meh.

  23. phuzz Silver badge

    =! Sharks

    Why would I need frikking sharks when I could get the laser attached to my own head instead?

    Also, consider the groping we'll get at airports if people could fit lasers to their heads.

    (other parts of anatomy apart from the head that the laser could be attached to are left as an exercise for the reader)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Embedded lasers

    and the American Right to bear arms? This is not going to end well ....

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Arms, you say?

      "The Autons are an artificial life form from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and adversaries of the Doctor. Autons conceal deadly weapons within their hands, which can kill or vaporize their targets."

      A somewhat more credible cause of mass blindness in the next remake of [Day of the Triffids] also can be considered. Deadly plants... hmm. "Terror of the Autons: Although the Nestene did use standard Autons for this operation, the assault relied on deadly plastic daffodils." But I think those spat out plastic film that stuck on your face and suffocated you. Probably mostly annoying to real-life makers of plastic flowers, and of plastic dolls, big squidgy inflatable plastic chairs, etc., which also appeared.

    2. VeganVegan

      Endangered species

      Bears are quite endangered in China because the Chinese assert their right to (consume) bear paws and gall bladders.

  25. John Sturdy

    The next stage might be trickier

    How long before we can trick organisms into growing parallel pairs of mirrors?

  26. Rob

    Upgrade in many ways

    For those of you wanting to upgrade your sharks, you have obviously missed the potential of this technology, it's a cell sized laser.

    Why bother with the expensive overheads of sharks (obviously they were needed 'cause the laser was big and so is a shark), ditch them and move on to my newly created production run of 'flying fish with laser beams in their eyes' this doubles their effeiciency of being able to kill any smartly dressed, quipping secrent agent that staumbles across your hideaway.

  27. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    I, for one...

    ...welcome our laser-spewing jellyfish-mammalian optical-interfaced overlords.

  28. Graham Marsden


    Obligatory comments about Sharks and Frickin' Lasers...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    At long last...

    Sharks with frikkin lasers!!!

  30. fLaMePrOoF

    One, two, three...

    CARE BEAR STARE!!!!!!!

  31. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Implanted in humans?

    Surely not. How could they bypass the whole species Chondrichthyes?

  32. Rosco

    Slightly disappointing

    I was expecting from the pre-amble that they'd created a full-on biological laser. But it isn't really, all the special lasery stuff is done by regular laser tech. It's just that the original light source is biological (which isn't new). I'm sure it's a huge technical achievement and everything, but it doesn't quite live up to the article title.

  33. Mike 140

    This won't end well

    ".. created their lasercyte by meddling with some unspecified mammal cells .."

    Next step, fish cells. Large fish. With pointy teeth.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unspecified, you say?

    I'm not familiar with that vareity of shark.

  35. BorkedAgain
    Thumb Up


    ...with frickin lasers *in* their heads???

  36. Ian Yates
    Thumb Up


    Can we scale this up to, say, sharks?

    No reason - just thinking about the savings on water-proof, cranial-attached hardware.

  37. PenguinGoth

    Fricking sharks...

    with fricking laser beams!


  38. Michael Prior-Jones


    I'm disappointed that you didn't mention the considerable possibility for laser-wielding marine bio-weapons - sharks that can generate their own laser beams are clearly superior to those with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

  39. Cihatari

    I hope this idea can scale up.

    Otherwise all you erstwhile Dr Evil types can look forward to dominating all life within the domain of a dessert spoon! Bwahaha!

  40. BristolBachelor Gold badge


    So it was a laser, but only if you added the other parts of a laser to it? When I worked on lasers, the mirrors were a pretty fundamental part of the laser, especially how reflective they were.

    I've had myself altered into being a car. Honestly, you just need to add a few parts to the outside of me, and I'm a car. What's more, with these parts on the outside of me, driving around as a car, I survive the whole experience and can continue to drive around...

  41. El Cid Campeador

    First??? Really????

    Frikkin' lasers!!!

    Ok I'll leave....

  42. Emilio Desalvo


    Nothing about sharks?

  43. Mage Silver badge


    "fricking sharks" with laser eyes!

  44. Mage Silver badge


    Ha! well no doubt teams of boffins are competing round the clock to be first.

  45. MrT

    Step forward...

    ... Scott Summers, your ruby-quartz lenses are ready for collection.

  46. Anonymous John

    I for one

    Want the welcome mat icon reinstated.

  47. Old Handle


    Can they grow the spherical mirror part yet? It's not really a complete laser without that.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Title Made of Lasers

    Why do I always fall for the attention grabbing headline?

    Anyway I thought this might be relevant:

  49. Dennis Wilson

    Cruelty to animals

    Would a biological raygun come under the RSPCA?

  50. Mips

    Just wait for the reply...

    .. when you get home and say "Ooh I had such a hard day at the office dear my laser is really aching"

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