June 18, 2013
A team of researchers from Stanford University in California wants you to donate your hard-earned money to them so they can continue to develop an unapproved genetically-modified (GM) plant that literally glows to generate light. The so-called “Glowing Plant Project” has already raised nearly half a million dollars from the online Kickstarter program, and researchers involved with the project hope to continue pulling in the dollars so they can one day unleash the technology on the commercial scale.
Originally hatched using what many are now referring to as “synthetic biology,” the GM glowing plant contains genes that have been artificially spliced from other species. In this case, fireflies and certain bacteria that glow are the sources from which the DNA strands that generate light were extracted and subsequently injected into the plants. Antony Evans and his team of scientists also reportedly implanted their own synthetic DNA into the mix.
“More recently we have learnt (sic) how to make new sequences of DNA from scratch,” explains a section of the team’s informational page that addresses the issue of synthetic biology, and the use of completely unnatural DNA. “By combining these techniques with the principles of modern engineering, scientists can now use computers and laboratory chemicals to design organisms that do new things.”