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A small fishlike invertebrate with a big name Branchiostoma lanceolatum is suddenly in the limelight for engendering the best and the brightest: the mNeon fluorescent protein.

Nathan Shaner and his colleagues at Allele Biotechnology and Florida State University, evolved the wild type yellow fluorescent protein from this lambent little creature to create an astonishingly bright green fluorescent protein, very aptly named mNeon.

With excitation and emission peaks at 506 nm and  517 nm, mNeon spectra is midway between ordinary green and yellow fluorescent proteins. mNeon fluorescent protein not only outshines eGFP, but has very little sequence similarity to Aquorea-derived fluorescent proteins.

Highlights of the Shaner Nature Methods paper include a panel of mNeon fluorescent protein fusions knocking the daylights into the darkest corners of the living cell.   FRET and FLIM and photobleaching and superresolution imaging and all manner of inspiration has sparked our interest and we just can’t wait to try the new mNeon fluorescent protein.  As always, we’ll be looking on the bright side.

Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer
Hey, there don’t get dimmer, dimmer
Light the path below, above
And lead us on to love