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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 1 May 2006 Referencing Hub media

    In the Nutrigenomics Project, it is important that researchers can measure the effects that a food component has had on a cell. A gene from the firefly has been added to the cells. This gene is linked to the inflammation pathway in the cells. Dr Martin Philpott from Auckland Medical School uses a luminometer to measure the amount of light that is produced by the cells. This tells him whether a particular food compound has affected the inflammation of the cell.


    Dr Martin Philpott (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland)

    This machine is a luminometer. It measures luminescence, which is what the luciferase gene that we’ve put into our cells will be expressing. The luciferase gene emits light. It’s the same gene that is present in fireflies and is responsible for the light emitted by fireflies. The machine here, the luminometer, measures each of the wells in those 96 or 384 well plates for the intensity of light that they’re emitting, and therefore for the amount that our luciferase gene has been turned on in response to our food compounds.