‘Glowing Plants‘ is a kickstarter project which is set to create the first publicly available bioluminescent plants. To do this, they will be adding the luciferase-luciferin gene system into the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Expanding on previous work done by the State University of New York and the University of Cambridge iGEM team, this synthetic biology project is truly exciting. What makes this project different is how widespread these plants will be disseminated, with over 5000 backers already. This project is the most successful biological crowdfunded campaign ever, and is setting a precedent for future projects which might seek funding this way.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Antony Evans the project manager of Glowing Plants. Check out the kickstarter video for glowing plants and our exclusive interview after the break.
Glow in the dark things are the quick becoming one of the most cliched products of the GMO world. This is probably because they are achievable and very easily recognised as alien and different. Humans love lights and glowing things in general – so glowing flowers seem like an obvious product. As of earlier this year they are finally commercially available. A small Australian company BIOCONST has produced its first range of commercial fluorescent flowers, which it calls Galassia Flowers. This first range is treated with a “fluorescent formulation” rather than being genetically modified – but the company has plans to create GMO products too. These flowers also need an illumination device, which presumably shines the UV light needed to see the glowing effect.
Check out their gallery of current products here. After the break also check out a fashion show they ran which showcases some of their flower fashion accessories.