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Glow up

Stamps celebrate bioluminescent life-forms

A midwater jellyfish (Atolla vanhoeffeni), photographed by Edith Widder, is featured on a new Bioluminescent Life stamp.

Being able to see the glow of a firefly will no longer mean catching it in a jar but rather buying it on a stamp.

The Postal Service will release Bioluminescent Life, stamps that celebrate organisms able to generate their own light, Thursday, Feb. 22. USPS will dedicate the stamps that day at a ceremony in Fort Pierce, FL.

The pane was produced using highly reflective rainbow-colored holographic material.

The stamps feature a deep-ocean octopus, a midwater jellyfish, a crown jellyfish, a deep-sea comb jelly, a cluster of mushrooms, a firefly, bamboo coral, two types of marine worms and a sea pen.

Glowing life-forms are rare on land — the firefly being a notable exception — but are more common at ocean depths where there is little to no light. Various species of underwater life use their ability to glow to lure food, attract mates or fend off predators.

Medical science has benefited tremendously from the study of luminous life-forms.

Using the genes that enable bioluminescence, scientists can make a cancer cell glow, enabling observation of how the disease behaves and spreads. Similar research is also vital in the fights against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, anemia, malaria, dengue fever, HIV and many other illnesses.

The Bioluminescent Life stamps will be available in panes of 20 at and Post Offices.

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