Gallery: Glowing Plant Project Creates Bioluminescent Plants for Natura...


Why use a light bulb to illuminate your home when you could just fill it with glowing plants? That’s the question asked by Antony Evans, the head of a team of bio-engineers in San Francisco, California. The team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a project that will use the glowing genes from fireflies and bacteria to create plants that shine. By using synthetic biology and Genome Compiler software, the have already managed to modify Arabidopsis plants, and they’re working on glowing roses.

To make the glowing plants, the team first uses the Genome Compiler software to identify a plant’s DNA. Cambrian Genomics then custom prints the sequence. The genes are then inserted into an Arabidopsis plant, which is closely related to mustard and cabbage. The main sequence responsible for making the plant glow is known as luciferase (it can also be found in fireflies). While this is not the first time that luciferase has been used to make a plant light up, it is the first instance where scientists have been able to get the gene to recycle itself and make the plant especially bright.

Not surprisingly, the team has already surpassed their $65,000 Kickstarter goal. Through their project, they hope to educate the public on the potential for bioluminescent lighting, and to one day help curb the energy needed to power lighting systems. Backers who pledge $40 or more will receive a packet of 50-100 seeds that will only be available through Kickstarter. A pledge of $150 or more will get you a fully grown glowing plant that is ready to brighten up your home or office. The project is a part of a growing movement to promote biological engineering for the next generation of design.

+ Glowing Plant

Via SingularityHUB


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  1. kwelch August 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I would like to know the effects of this plant species on not only herbivors, but also on other closely related Arabidopsis species. Will they hybridize causing our forests to become over time illuminated? Has any research been done to look into the long term environmental effcts of planting this new to the environment species? We don’t need another Kudzu or Sericea incident.

  2. Orange Julian March 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I would like to know the effects on small herbavores that eat such plants. I know the color and other character trates are effected by what creatures eat. Wondering what would happen if only food source. Might need different plant pending on creature. Why the choice for this plant over others

  3. ecoartist September 10, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Why would they put all of the money and time into making a Frankenstein plant that glows when they already exist? There are many fungi that glow.

  4. David Bergman May 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    This would create a GMO, wouldn’t it? (I don’t see the abbreviation anywhere in this post or in the previous one on the topic.)

    I try not to be a GMO fear mongerer, but there are potentially serious impacts/side effects to the release of GMOs into the environment without extremely thorough testing.

    If this was being proposed by Monsanto, would the reaction be different?

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