Could GM plants replace airport security scanners?

| | October 20, 2014
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Imagine if passing through airport security could be as pleasant as a stroll through a park. Scientist June Medford is working to harness the innate sensing abilities of plants, genetically engineering them into lean, green bomb-and-drug detecting machines. Medford is a “synthetic biologist” (not to imply she’s artificial, but to clarify that she dabbles in the re-design of existing, natural biological systems in attempt to find new useful purposes).

“The way we screen [at] airports…is, everyone goes through detector systems and it’s slow. What would make much more sense…is that you would walk through a garden-like setting, with a webcam looking down on plants, seeing if they detected anything,” Medford told Motherboard in a phone interview, “You wouldn’t be able to identify an individual, but if you go through 10 people at a time, well, if it detects something you can look through those people in detail.”  Engineered plants could be internet-connected to electronic webcams, detecting color changes before they’re perceptible to the human eye, and signaling an alarm.

Sound far-fetched? Consider that the natural sensors in plants can be over 100 times more receptive than a dog’s.

Read full, original article: Genetically engineered plants to replace airport security checkpoints?


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