Somatic Fusion

Somatic Fusion is a biotechnological technique which David Martinez-Moreno is pursuing at the SAIC BioArt Laboratory. The technique merges the genetic information of two different species of trees in order to shape the tree’s appearance. In other words, sculpting a living organism.

As seen in the illustration from a Somatic Fusion paper on the left; by mixing the genetic information of two different species, the resulting organism’s phenotype (its physical characteristics, shape, color, texture, etc.) is altered. This allows for selection to be much quicker and authorship of living organism. Questions of ownership and ethics are raised. Finally, The resulting plants will be grafted into an ancient tree in order to create a genetic chimera which will be shaped through epigenetics (environmental development conditions which determine the physical characteristics of an organism).