Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity

Wanaque, NJ(Zone 6b)

One of the more interesting Internet websites is known as Kickstarter (http://www.Kickstarter.com). Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects. It is a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct financial support of people who are interested in the projects. Since Kickstarterís launch in 2009, more than 4 million people have pledged over $607 million, funding more than 41,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now. One of these projects is on the cutting edge of plant biology and promises to deliver plants which will glow in the dark using only biological energy generated by the plat itself. Using a technology known as synthetic biology, Firefly (Photinus pyralis) DNA is being transferred in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and a yet to be announced Rose cultivar.

Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/antonyevans/glowing-plants-natural-lighting-with-no-electricit

Glowing Plant
http://glowingplant.com/

Here is some information about the Arabidopsis thaliana plant species:

Arabidopsis thaliana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabidopsis_thaliana

PlantFiles: Mouseear Cress, Arabidopsis thaliana
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/133511/

As the accompanying graphic attests, I am a financial support of the Glowing Plants project and am looking forward to receiving a shipment of glowing plant seeds in June 2014. There are still $40 openings for project backers for the June 2014 seed delivery but the openings are going fast. There is also a DIY (Do It Yourself) genetic engineering kit for $250 but I have been able to resist that temptation as I already have too many projects for the summer. Here are some news reports on the project.

A Dream of Trees Aglow at Night
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/business/energy-environment/a-dream-of-glowing-trees-is-assailed-for-gene-tinkering.html

Next Step For Glowing Plant Kickstarter Campaign? Glowing Rose
http://singularityhub.com/2013/05/06/next-step-for-glowing-plant-kickstarter-campaign-glowing-rose/

How to create a glowing plant
http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-to-create-a-glowing-plant

Glowing plants could act as biological night lights
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57581908-76/glowing-plants-could-act-as-biological-night-lights/

Welcome to the Planet of Pandora!

Mike


Thumbnail by Michael_Ronayne
Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Let us know about the glowing plant seeds you get next year. And, of course, pictures of the glowing plants would be interesting. I have to admit that I am very skeptical about the workability of putting firefly DNA into a plant. The firefly has specific organs that use the light producing chemicals, and it is highly unlikely that the plants will develop those organs.

Years ago, one dark night, maybe it was moonless, I did find a hollowed out rotting tree stump that was full of foxfire, and that was an amazing sight. It almost looked like you could read a newspaper by it, but of course I didn't have a newspaper with me. I think there will be glowing plants some day, but I will be very surprised if you get seeds of any next year.

ZM

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

I know some people who use Kickstarter for films, but I didn't know it was that extensive! That is great!

Wanaque, NJ(Zone 6b)

Quote from Zen_Man :
Let us know about the glowing plant seeds you get next year. And, of course, pictures of the glowing plants would be interesting. I have to admit that I am very skeptical about the workability of putting firefly DNA into a plant. The firefly has specific organs that use the light producing chemicals, and it is highly unlikely that the plants will develop those organs.

The project is not proposing to put firefly organs into a plant. The process which is being used is known as Synthetic Biology. Using a DNA Printer, DNS strains will be fabricated which will control the production of the chemicals responsible for the fireflies glow. Basically they will be putting a chemical factory into the plant. In the first version, there will be no off switch and the entire plant for from leaves to roots will illumines all the time. This is a very cutting edge project and there is chance that it will fail but he research team has worked on similar projects in the past.

Since you do a lot of hybridizing, you may be interested in this post I made on new restrictions on seeds in the European Union. In the not too distant future, unapproved seed trading with Europe may not be possible. I use several seed sellers in Europe and I donít know what their status will be under the new laws.

European Commission to criminalize nearly all seeds & plants
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1311386/

Mike

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Mike,

I hybridize zinnias, and that proposed legislation seems to apply only to commercial food plant production in Europe.

"This is a very cutting edge project and there is chance that it will fail but he research team has worked on similar projects in the past."

I think there is a big chance that it will fail, particularly since they promised to deliver seeds just next year for $40. But you could spend that much going to a 3D movie, and that isn't real either. So, with just $40 invested, you could write that off as entertainment. And they don't really guarantee what those seeds will do. Regular seed companies don't, either. I'll keep my $40 and get my entertainment from my zinnia patch. My DNA Printer seems to be out of ink. And so is my plastic handgun printer. (grin)

ZM
(not to be taken seriously)

Wanaque, NJ(Zone 6b)

Quote from Zen_Man :
I think there is a big chance that it will fail, particularly since they promised to deliver seeds just next year for $40. But you could spend that much going to a 3D movie, and that isn't real either. So, with just $40 invested, you could write that off as entertainment.

The more questions I ask, to which there is no detailed response, the more I share your skepticism. I have made public posts on the projectís comment section and been assured that a full explanation will be forthcoming shortly. Right now my $40 commitment to the project is the price of admission to a reality show. If I though the project could deliver a genetic engineering kit for $250, my money would be on the table in a New York minute but I donít have evidence of that as yet. I really hope that the promised documentation is forthcoming before the funding period ends on June 7, 2013, otherwise I will hold at $40.

The project team doesnít appear to appreciate the costs associated with distributing between 6,000 and 7,000 packets of GM seeds safely, assuming the project is successful. In comparison, Caroline Biological is selling a packet of wild seeds for about $20 with shipping.

If you read the New York Times report on the project, the stage is now set for an entertaining comedy as the pro and anti GM forces lineup for their turn in the spotlight. That alone will be worth the $40 price of admission. I am reminded of this old fable about a theft who tries to postpone his execution for one year.

Once upon a time in China, there lived an Emperor who owned a majestic white stallion, the finest beast in all his Kingdom. One night, a thief tried to slip in and steal the horse, but was captured by the palace guards and thrown into the dungeon.

The next morning, he was dragged before the Emperor's court. "How dare you," bellowed the Emperor, "lay hand on my royal steed! Jailor, put this thief to death!"

Immediately, the thief bowed deeply. "Your judgment is peerless and wise, O Emperor," he calmly replied, "but my life is of little value. I should offer you a gift before I depart. Your mount is quite a fine one, but if your eminence would spare my life for just a year and a day, I swear to you I can teach that horse to sing hymns!"

The court burst in to laughter at that, but the Emperor was intrigued. After all, you didn't get to his high position by turning down freely offered gifts, no matter how far-fetched they seem. To the surprise of all, the Emperor quickly accepted the offer.

As they were leaving the chambers, the jailor whispered to the thief, "You are a fool!"

"I am a fool?" replied the thief, smiling broadly. "Much can happen in a year and a day. The King may die. The horse may die. I may die and maybe the horse will learn how to sing.


A year from now, perhaps the seedlings will glow!

Mike


Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Mike,

"If I though the project could deliver a genetic engineering kit for $250, my money would be on the table in a New York minute..."

I think they could deliver a box labeled "Genetic Engineering Kit", but the contents of the kit and its ability to enable you to do actual genetic engineering are in question. In fact, what is their definition of "genetic engineering" in the context of the kit?

I am uneasy that it may not be too long until amateurs can do actual genetic engineering. As I recall, the first gene gun was a modified Crosman air rifle. As a kid, I was fascinated with hybrids, like the cross between a horse and a donkey producing a mule and the lion-tiger and tiger-lion hybrids in some zoos. Those crosses were readily made via artificial insemination.

I noted the differences in different species of grasshoppers and wondered what it would be like to make crosses, via artificial insemination, between different kinds of grasshoppers. I am kind of glad now that I didn't create a lot of hybrid grasshoppers, because of the potential for serious economic damage to agricultural crops. Most insect pests are held in check, at least partially, by natural enemies. A hybrid grasshopper might not have many natural enemies.

ZM

West Babylon, NY(Zone 7a)

I want that glowing rose but its too expensive for me to afford! Ive always liked glow in the dark toys, and I like growing plants, so the combo for me is exciting! For the rose, if you make a cutting will that also glow? What about if the rose develops seeds, will they produce glowing offspring too? Id make weeds like dandelion and clover glow imagine a glowing yard!

This message was edited Aug 5, 2014 11:40 PM

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

A cutting from a glowing rose would most likely also glow. As would a graft. But seeds would involve a significant recombination of genes and an unknown percentage of them would not glow.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Hi Mike,

How about an update on your experience with this project. I admit that I am very skeptical about this project, but I think that some day genetic engineering will create glow-in-the-dark ornamental plants.

ZM

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