Glowing Plants: Natural Light Sources Of The Future - Page 2
The scientific advancements that make this work possible are recent. Luciferase is an enzyme that generates light; it is the mechanism used by fireflies. In 1986, scientists created a glowing plant by adding luciferin to the nutrients. The genes for the full luciferase-luciferin system were sequenced in 1989, opening the way for gene synthesis and subsequent incorporation into other organisms. The gene incorporation was done in 2010, when scientists successfully created light-generating bacteria. Subsequently, a plant that could dimly glow was created at the State University of New York.
Some are concerned about the open nature of this project. Concerns range from seed distribution to open publication of the completed research outside of the standard academic and corporate settings. Although Glowing Plant does have solid external confirmation that their lab experiment is safe, some environmental groups have contacted the Agricultural Department in an effort to stop the research. Glowing Plant feels that their approach is both legal and groundbreaking. They are using the project to concurrently develop a framework of guideline recommendations that regulators can use for do-it-yourself biotech enthusiasts.
The Glowing Plant team wants to create a plant that glows more brightly than any yet created. They want to create a plant that is bright enough to read by. If they can achieve this using their open research approach, it could open many doors for further progress. Those evening tree light strolls might become reality.