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The astonishing glow-in-the-dark GM plants that could one day replace street lamps

Glow-in-the-dark trees could soon be a natural alternative to electric street lighting, according to scientists.

Researchers at the Glowing Plant project from California have transferred the glowing genes seen in fireflies, in to plants to make them glow-in-the-dark.

The team is now hoping to extend the technique to larger plants and trees, and use them to replace electric lights.

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A team of scientists from California has developed bacteria than can make plants glow-in-the dark. They have taken genes from fireflies, glow worms and other bacteria that create naturally-occurring light and added it to household plants. The team is hoping that luminescent trees could replace electric street lighting

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The genes used in the Glowing Plant project are taken from glow worms and fireflies that create natural light through what's called bioluminescence. The genes are added to agrobacteria, and this agrobacteria transfers these genes to the plants, which makes them glow-in-the-dark

Antony Evans from the University of Cambridge, with Stamford PHDs Kyle Taylor and Omri Amirav-Drory have been creating glow-in-the-dark plants in a DIY biolab in California.

The team were inspired by fireflies and glow worms that both produce what's called bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is the process that makes these creatures produce naturally-occurring light from their bodies.

The team start off by getting glowing protein enzymes called Luciferase, from the genes of fireflies or from bacteria, they then use software called Genome Compiler to make it possible for the plants to read what those genes are. The genes are then made in labs and shipped to the team in California.

Evans and his team put these genes into liquid agrobacteria and the bacteria is poured over the plants. Agrobacteria is able to transfer genes into plants, and when these glowing genes are added, they are transferred to the plants, which makes them glow-in-the-dark.

To create these genes, the scientists have had to redesign the DNA sequence. They have successfully managed to create small glowing plants and are now asking for extra funding, via a Kickstarter campaign, to use the technology on larger plants and trees. The campaign ends on 7 June.

So far it has had more than 5,000 backers and raised over ?183,000.

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This was in the news a few months ago.

Looks cool but there's no research on any bad effects it'd have longterm.

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If you create sterile plants there shouldn't be any, and IMO much of this GM-phobia is overblown anyhow.

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Pretty damn neat

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I'm under the impression if you donate to their kickstarter you'll receive a glow in the dark plant next year?

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You could grow a whole forest of these plants and recreate Pandora from Avatar :p

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Very neat. Would they ever make them bright enough for street lighting, though?

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Oh look, a time when genetic modification of plants is actually useful to civilian life instead of damaging to the environment and all living organism's health. (I'm looking at you, Monsanto)

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I was going to donate to get some seeds, but it's US only :(

http://www.kickstart...h-no-electricit

Just sent the question to the creator of the project if the seed and subsequent plant are safe for pets. I would imagine they would be but want to make sure before I potentially fork over $40.

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I'm very tempted to fork over $40 for some seeds myself.

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What if someone eats these plants ... ?

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Donated $40!

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What if someone eats these plants ... ?

you could leave the light off in the bathroom!

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Just sent the question to the creator of the project if the seed and subsequent plant are safe for pets. I would imagine they would be but want to make sure before I potentially fork over $40.

They are. Luciferase is just another protein with no significant toxicity. People have drank entire glowing cups of it with no issues.

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If they can light up a street as effective as a street lamp I will be very impressed, I can imagine that directing the light towards the street will be quite a problem, also all this light will require a lot of energy from the plant, it it is to be useful. for now I will remain sceptic of this projects ability to function as street light.

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monster_tree.jpg

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I'm under the impression if you donate to their kickstarter you'll receive a glow in the dark plant next year?

Really? Sign me up! :)

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What if someone eats these plants ... ?

glow in the dark penis!! nooooo!

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If you create sterile plants there shouldn't be any, and IMO much of this GM-phobia is overblown anyhow.

what happens when the mutate and mix with other plants and screw up the ecosystem ?

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You'd mind glowing trees & grasses at night? Guess you're no fan of Avatar ;)

Seriously, you can make genmodded plants so they can't reproduce.

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what happens when the mutate and mix with other plants and screw up the ecosystem ?

And what happens when the computers get intelligent and were at war with the robots ?

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Just sent the question to the creator of the project if the seed and subsequent plant are safe for pets. I would imagine they would be but want to make sure before I potentially fork over $40.

They are. Luciferase is just another protein with no significant toxicity. People have drank entire glowing cups of it with no issues.

Odd, you would think the people behind this would have no problem sharing this fact?

I actually heard back from the guy, and this is what he said...

We haven't done any studies into the toxicity of the plant as it's not for eating by humans or animals.

Actually kind of an arrogant response IMHO, animals are going to eat plants, not sure what world he lives in. That sealed the deal for me, I am not getting it just based on the dumb reply.

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