New Scientist has published an interview with Laura Cinti
, an artist who claims that she has collaborated with an unnamed genetics lab in order to create a transgenic cactus that grows human hair. Christopher Chauvin brought this to my attention, and, like him, I'm a bit skeptical of Cinti's claims. First of all, it seems like quite a scientific achievement to get a cactus to grow human hair. Second, it seems suspicious that the lab that did the work can't be named. Third, it doesn't appear that any independent scientists have actually examined these hirsute cactuses to see if all is as she claims it is. Cinti has a website, the Cactus Project
, where she elaborates on this artistic project. With a quick google search, I also discovered a similar project: the Emotiplant
. This is a plant that has the ability to display emotions, thanks to genetically implanted human genes for the expression of emotions. Now the emotiplant is definitely not real (it's a student art project from San Francisco State University), but its creator states that the emotion genes were implanted by the same process that Laura Cinti used with the cactuses.