Are you ready for glow-in-the-dark trees?
HOW about if science creates trees that glow in the dark? No need for lamp-posts? That hedge along the motorway’s central reservation makes night driving easier. Reason reports:
[Efforts to engineering a glowing tree] has been going on since the mid-1980s, when researchers first successfully transplanted a gene present in fireflies into tobacco plants [seen above]. By now you’d expect to see phosphorescent Marlboros casting an eerie glow in what few dive bars still allow smoking, but progress has been slow.
Things sped up last year after former Bain consultant Antony Evans watched biologist Omri Amirav-Drory give a presentation on the possibilities of using living organisms to produce energy, fuel, plastics, and fertilizers. Evans was inspired by Amirav-Drory’s suggestion that armchair tinkerers, utilizing sophisticated but easy-to-use software and a “biological app store,” might one day assemble the genetic material for producing a “renewable, self-assembled, solar-powered, sustainable street-lamp”—in other words, a bioluminescent oak tree.
One problem: how do you contain the seeds? Would you want your garden to start glowing? Neon mould, anyone?