Are glowing trees the solution to our power worries

Followers of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ will be partial to this one. Basically, a bunch of scientists have now announced that they’d like to provide the world glowing crops! (Yes, you read that right). The proposed tech could, in the future, offer us bioluminescent trees instead of streetlights. The scientists’ eventual objective is to bring about vegetation so light that you could study by them in otherwise total darkness.

The concept is to work with a form of genetic engineering (purposely: Synthetic Biology, where scientists synthesize the desired genes as an alternative to merely splicing them in) so that they can develop a strain of plant which could glow, visibly, in the night.

Nevertheless, for much of the considerable discuss replacing streetlamps, getting a potted plant to grow in any way, is job one.

Noticeably, we have seen ‘glowing’ creatures and vegetation before, actually, glowing zebra fish are a man-made innovation which can be available in several pet shops. In those cases, a fluorescent jellyfish protein is spliced into the animal’s DNA, using the effect of making the animal glow, but simply when uncovered to ultraviolet light.

Why we would like it:

Man, glowing plants.

When can we look forward to it?

As I thought, it has been done already. A few years ago, a new team of scientists made a glowing tobacco plant by infusing it among genes from the type of light-emitting bacterium that lives within the sea. The difficulty was, that the light emitted from the plant was not very dazzling. In reality, it is barely noticeable.

On the other hand, it’s not all doom and gloom (groan!). This could be the kind of tale that has for sale magazines and garners web hits, so anticipate it to receive a lot of coverage. Where there may be coverage, there may be money and where there may be cash, there is typically rapid expansion. So far, the group to blame for dreaming up this concept has garnered more than $250,000 on US blog ‘Kickstarter.com’, so things are definitely moving ahead.

The possibility for glowing flower shows, bouquets of vivid flowers, light-emitting roses for dining establishments and so on will guarantee that plenty of people will be donating to this idea, with even more looking to invest in the eventual products itself.

…And that’s before we even get to the green implications of an power-efficient light supply. The sci fi critic in me can’t prevent, but envisage this like a bold first step right into a biotechnological future, where the whole lot, plus your computer, is self-sustaining. After all, what could be the Human brain if not the ultimate biological supercomputer?

Nonetheless, I do not know about the ‘Treetlamps’ (I really trust they don’t get labeled that), but we can expect the essential technology to emerge quite soon, I believe. This modern method certainly has the potential to realize its objectives, but it’s difficult to propose precisely when (or if) that might be. For now, I’d leave it a decade, at least.

Cool Factor: 4/5

The environmental purposes on their own are genuinely staggering. Furthermore, the sights we could be treated to would be basically spectacular. The list of applications for tech like this is as long as your arm and also the material is both fascinating and worth discussing at events. Bring over the glowing trees, I say!

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