The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

Will glowing plants replace electrical lights in the future?

| October 10, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

When it gets dark, we use streetlights to light our way, but what if we could replace them with a greener alternative — like glowing plants? Thanks to science, this unusual concept could one day become reality.

A small biotech company in San Francisco is using genetic engineering to develop plants that emit their own light, CBS San Francisco reports.

“We’ve developed a novel plant that glows in the dark using the latest tools and techniques that are known as synthetic biology,” said Antony Evans, the cofounder of the company called Glowing Plant.

The company’s chief scientist Kyle Taylor has figured out how to add DNA to plant cells that causes them to produce the same chemical that makes fireflies glow. It has not been an easy process.

“I must admit, the moment we could actually see it, and get over the visibility threshold was 1) a huge relief, and 2) ‘Oh, thank God!'” Taylor said.

The glow from the plants is too faint to see on video, but it can be captured with a still camera with a long exposure.

“Really the goal of the Glowing Plant project was to create a product that symbolizes the advances that we’re making and inspires people to imagine what else we can create,” Evans said.

But the project has its skeptics, such as environmental groups that have complained about the uncontrolled creation of these types of genetically modified organisms.

Read, full original article: Genetic engineering leads to glow-in-the-dark plants

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend