Friday, 14 March 2014

A natural glow: these plants produce their own light




Daan Roosegarde invites me into a cramped, pitch-black photo booth no more than a couple feet wide. "Hold on," the Dutch designer whispers into my ear. "Just give it a minute." Soon, the tiny cucumber plant in his hand begins to emit a faint glow.
As my eyes adjust, it gets brighter. Roosegarde’s specimen was created by genetically modifying its molecular structure to include luciferin, a chemical that gives jellyfish their radiant glow. "I’m completely obsessed with jellyfish," Roosegarde says. "They create their own light without a battery or solar panel." Roosegarde’s plant is nowhere near as vibrant as a jellyfish or a fern from Avatar — it’s in fact still quite dim — but serves as a proof of concept for his technology,...
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