Plants that emit light thanks to added genes from mushrooms

Plants that emit light thanks to added genes from mushrooms

About the episode

A few years ago, scientists already managed to do this Glow in the dark To make plants that illuminate us clearly. But this has actually been worked on since the 1980s.

It was originally based on an interest in gene expression: what happens if you express a gene from another organism, for example from a firefly, in a plant? They actually succeeded in this in 1986. They were able to make this gene light up as soon as another gene became active in the plant.

Even then, many people thought: it was possible to make money from this. Many companies tried to turn it into a consumer product, but the amount of light was very limited and the plants needed a special type of nutrition to keep the gene active. This won't happen to him.

But it worked now. Not with genes from fireflies, but with genes from luminous mushrooms. It produces bioluminescent petunia flowers that do not require special light or food. The healthier the plant, the brighter it will be.

Don't expect that you can light up your entire house with it. Even at full power, the plant only emits a green glow, comparable in intensity to when the moon is full. It would work great as mood lighting in the garden.

The plant is now approved in the United States and can be sold to consumers. Meanwhile, scientists are not finished with this interesting trick yet.

They are investigating whether they can make these plants brighter, but other groups are also investigating whether it is possible to make plants light up only when they are sick, so that it could also be effective in the agricultural sector.

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Read more about the research here: This GMO petunia glows in the dark and can be yours for $29

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