AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between firefly luciferase and Gaussia luciferase?

Posted July 14, 2022


Firefly luciferase is widely considered to be superior to the Gaussia system. 

Firefly luciferase is a higher order reaction that requires a second substrate. The absence of background autoluminescence in this system reduces critical signal to noise ratios in vitro and in vivo. Firefly luciferase is used as more than just a gene reporter. It is also used for in vitro and in vivo detection of proteins, small molecules and a few functional processes such as protein interactions and signaling. The color-shifting ability of Firefly allows dual/multi parameter detection/ imaging.

Because of the presence of background autoluminescence in Gaussia Luciferase, there is a higher signal to noise ratio, which reduces its efficiency. The Gaussia system emits blue light, which is good for in vitro luminmoteres but highly disadvantageous for in vivo imaging. 

Additional resources

Gaussia luciferase for bioluminescence tumor monitoring in comparison with firefly luciferase


Amplite® Renilla Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay Kit *Bright Glow*