Are glowing plants the solution to our energy worries

22/06/13 12:24 PM

Fans of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ will be fond of this 1. Fundamentally, a group of scientists have absolutely announced that they’d like to offer the world glowing plants! (Yes, you read that right). The projected technology could, in the future, give us bioluminescent trees rather than streetlights. The scientists’ eventual objective is to create plants so dazzling that you could potentially study by them in otherwise complete darkness.

The concept is to work with a type of genetic engineering (particularly: Synthetic Biology, where scientists create the desired genes rather than purely splicing them in) that allows you to create a strain of plant that can glow, visibly, in the dark.

Nonetheless, for all the considerable talk about changing streetlamps, getting a potted plant to improve in any way, is task one.

Evidently, we’ve seen ‘glowing’ creatures and crops in the past, in fact, glowing zebra fish are a man-made invention which are available in several pet shops. In those periods, a glowing jellyfish protein is spliced into the animal’s DNA, using the effect of making the animal glow, but simply when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Why we would like it:

Dude, glowing plants.

When can we anticipate it?

As I thought, its been done already. A couple of years ago, a different group of scientists made a glowing tobacco plant by infusing it with genes from the type of light-emitting bacterium that lives within the ocean. The trouble was, that the light emitted from the plant wasn’t very bright. In reality, it is barely noticeable.

On the other hand, it is not all doom and gloom (groan!). This could be the type of story that sells magazines and garners web hits, so expect it to accept a lot of coverage. Where there may be coverage, there may be money and where there’s money, there’s typically rapid development. Thus far, the group to blame for dreaming up this concept has garnered a lot more than $250,000 on United states blog ‘’, so things are categorically moving onward.

The possibility for glowing floral displays, bouquets of brilliant flowers, light-emitting roses for dining establishments and so forth will ensure that many people are donating to this idea, with much more looking to secure the eventual harvest itself.

…And that’s before we even get the green implications of an power-efficient light resource. The science fiction writer in me cannot help, but picture this as a bold first step right into a biotechnological expectations, where everything, plus your computer, is self-sustaining. After all, what may be the Human brain if not the ultimate physical supercomputer?

Anyway, I don’t know about the ‘Treetlamps’ (I actually trust they don’t get called that), but we can expect the basic technology to emerge fairly soon, I imagine. This novel method certainly has the potential to achieve its goals, but it’s difficult to suggest accurately whilst (or if) that might be. For now, I would give it 10 years, at least.

Cool Factor: 4/5

The environmental functions on their own are genuinely staggering. Additionally, the sights we might be treated to could be simply breathtaking. The list of applications for tech like that is as long as your arm and the subject matter is both interesting and worth discussing at parties. Bring on the glowing trees, I say!

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