Friday, August 19, 2016

The promise of glow in the dark plants

Apologies for what will be but a short post on biotechnology.

I'm blogging on my phone because a monsoon has rolled through, taking out power on campus. No lights, no computers, nothing. If this is life after the power grid collapses then...I must admit...give me death.

I also must admit that I get drawn into listiicles. It's against my better judgement but darn it I just can't refuse a list. Anyway, I came across a list of "Seven Incredibly Ingenius" that someone thinks "Prove the Future is Now." Here's the link (apologies, but the Blogger app won't let me add hyperlinks. If anybody knows a way, hit me up.)

It's mostly what you'd expect, things such as portable mini printers and finger readers but then there's this bit of biotech: glow in the dark plants. Using sets of genes from bioluminescent bacteria, biotechnologists have rendered a tobacco plant that produces light. Good on a few levels.

Firstly, imagine streets lit by trees and not streetlights requiring power. These glowing trees would all natural and solar powered. Yes I can already hear objections such as "What if you have to take a tree down? You can't just quickly put another one up in its place." There will be problems with anything new. The question is if the benefits offset the difficulties.

Second of all, the knowledge of how to take genes from one species and place them into another opens up all kinds of doors. For example, the healing and regenerative properties of one organism could be applied to humans or other animals in order to help defeat illnesses such as cancer.

That and glowing trees would be cool. I probably shouldn't be driving down a street lit by them, however. I'd just be too mesmerized.

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