How a genetically modified morning glory was almost the 2020 Olympics mascot

| | November 20, 2019
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Morning Glory
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Sebastian Cocioba, a 29-year-old college dropout and self-styled “plant hacker,” has lived there with his parents for the past decade. And, for the past three years, the condo has also been home to a top secret, gloriously quixotic enterprise: the project to genetically engineer a flower that would serve as the official mascot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.


[T]he idea of a mutant morning glory, engineered to express the recombinant code of the official Olympic logo, began to assume an almost unbearable rightness. It blended Japan’s unique culture and history with the latest technology. The fleeting symbolism of the flower even embodied something of the magic of the Olympics.

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[However,] the morning-glory mascot project was, unquestionably, a failure. [Designer] Kevin Slavin’s ambitious vision of a beautifully designed plant, whose seeds could be given away to visitors and raised in pots by schoolchildren on the balconies and in the alleyways of Tokyo, will not become reality—if it ever could have, given the constraints on releasing gene-edited organisms. “From a cultural perspective, it was a clusterfuck,” Slavin concluded. “From a scientific perspective, it may yield something that’s more important than anything we could have ever imagined.”

Read full, original post: The Next Olympics Mascot Might Have Been a Mutant Morning Glory

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