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Can we light our world with glowing plants?

Environmental issues are still a hot topic in contemporary society, with companies and individuals the world over trying to find a solution for our energy needs, whilst balancing out damage done to the environment. One group of people believes the solution is genetic engineering and one method that could make a big impact in their minds, is replacing out light bulbs with glowing plant life.

By taking the genetic coding that allows fireflies to glow and inserting that into bacteria which is then absorbed by the arabidopsis plant, otherwise known as rockcress, those behind this campaign say we can grow our own light sources. But they need to get this funded, so where else do you go for such a project in 2013, but Kickstarter?

The intro video is half passionate, half nervous presenting, but it gets the point across well enough. Glowing plants could help cut back on lighting power needs, if they indeed produce the kind of useful light levels that we have come to expect from traditional electric sources. If it’s only enough to illuminate the plant itself in a room, it may not be up to scratch.

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I can’t help but feel like this is the end result of genetically modifying plants…

According to those behind the project though, it will be. They don’t go into actual light level discussions, but do bring up that in 2010, Cambridge University research developed “super glowy” bacteria by recycling the luciferase enzyme, the one that creates the luminescence in the first place.

If you become a backer, $25 gets you a Tshirt, $40 your own pack of glowing plant seeds (though don’t expect them until next year) and you can go all the way up into the thousands of dollars, and have your name or a message sequenced in the DNA of the very plants that bring bio-luminescence to the home.

Not everyone agrees that this project should go ahead though. Friends of the Earth has expressed its concern about sending out genetically modified plant life to people, as most likely, it will get loose and begin growing in the wild. The counter argument to which, the creators say is that they shouldn’t be afraid to make bold changes to help prevent future environmental issues and that the plants will be designed to not grow easily in the wild.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkWeMvrNiOM’] I think someone might have a problem with that theory.

KitGuru Says: This is going to be an interesting project to watch. I looks more like a novelty than something that’ll change the world, but I’ll hold my hands up and admit I’m wrong the day our plant overlords begin blinding us and using us a work force. 

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