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GFP vs. YFP: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 27, 2023
GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein), emits green light under specific conditions. YFP (Yellow Fluorescent Protein), a GFP variant emitting yellow light.

Key Differences

GFP stands for Green Fluorescent Protein, a naturally occurring bioluminescent protein, while YFP, Yellow Fluorescent Protein, is a derivative of GFP with a modified emission spectrum.
GFP emits green light when exposed to light in the blue to ultraviolet range, whereas YFP emits yellow light due to a mutation altering its chromophore.
Discovered in jellyfish, GFP has become a vital tool in molecular biology, while YFP was engineered to expand the applications of fluorescent proteins in various research fields.
GFP is often used as a marker in genetic engineering, and YFP, due to its distinct color, is frequently utilized in multicolor labeling experiments.
The excitation peak of GFP is around 395 nm with an emission peak at 509 nm, whereas for YFP, the excitation peak is around 514 nm with an emission peak at 527 nm.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Noun (Acronym)
Noun (Acronym)

Word Origin

From Green Fluorescent Protein
From Yellow Fluorescent Protein

Plural Form


Related Terms

Bioluminescence, Fluorescence
Fluorescent protein, Molecular marker

Usage in Biology

Genetic marker, Cellular imaging
Multicolor labeling, Protein tracking

GFP and YFP Definitions


A protein that fluoresces green under specific lighting conditions.
GFP is widely used in biological imaging.


A yellow fluorescent marker in cellular biology.
YFP allows for distinct visualization in cells.


A tool for visualizing cellular processes in real time.
GFP helps in observing protein interactions.


A molecular tool for tracking and visualizing proteins.
Researchers use YFP to observe protein movement.


A molecular beacon in various biological applications.
GFP tags are vital for studying cellular dynamics.


A protein used in multi-fluorescent labeling.
YFP is combined with other fluorescent proteins for complex studies.


A bioluminescent protein originally from jellyfish.
GFP's discovery revolutionized molecular biology.


A variant of GFP that emits yellow light.
YFP is used for dual-color imaging experiments.


A luminescent marker in genetic and cellular research.
Scientists use GFP to track gene expression.


A genetically engineered protein for specific fluorescence.
YFP modifications enhance its applications in research.


What is the natural source of GFP?

Jellyfish (Aequorea victoria).

Is YFP naturally occurring?

No, it’s a modified version of GFP.

What does GFP stand for?

Green Fluorescent Protein.

What does YFP stand for?

Yellow Fluorescent Protein.

What color does GFP emit?


What’s the primary use of YFP?

For multi-color labeling and protein tracking.

What’s the emission peak of GFP?

Around 509 nm.

What color does YFP emit?


What’s the primary use of GFP?

As a fluorescent marker in biological research.

How are GFP and YFP different in molecular structure?

YFP has mutations altering its chromophore.

Can GFP and YFP be used together?

Yes, for multicolor imaging.

Is YFP toxic to cells?

Typically, it’s not toxic.

What wavelengths excite YFP?

Around 514 nm.

What’s the emission peak of YFP?

Around 527 nm.

How did GFP revolutionize biology?

By enabling visualization of cellular processes.

Is GFP toxic to cells?

Generally, no.

What wavelengths excite GFP?

Around 395 nm.

Can GFP be used in live-cell imaging?

Yes, it’s commonly used.

Can YFP be used in live-cell imaging?

Yes, it’s suitable for live-cell studies.

What advantage does YFP offer over GFP?

Its distinct color allows for more versatile labeling in multi-fluorescent studies.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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