Are You Ready for Glow-in-the-Dark Trees?

Glow in the dark plantAfter successfully inserting genes from bioluminescent bacteria into plants, a group of California biologists have their sights set on engineering glowing trees. Image: DIYSect

They’re no longer science fiction. A team of California biologists has already created glowing plants, and now they’re working on glowing trees.

We’re big proponents of trees as energy savers — they create shade and wind breaks for your home. So how would you like a tree that actually illuminates your landscaping at night for free?

Glow-in-the-dark trees are more than a glimmer now that a California biologist, Antony Evans, and his colleagues have inserted genes from bioluminescent bacteria into plants. They’ve found that the bioengineered flora grows and glows. It’s the first step to growing glowing trees that can light streets and your front yard, and save energy.

Backers loved the idea of glow-in-the-dark plants. Evans had hoped to raise $65,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. But the Kickstarters pledged over $484,000.

What does this mean to homeowners who want to substitute a glowing tree or rosebush for their porch light? Nothing, yet. Trees take a long time to grow and to demonstrate which bioengineering techniques work and which fizzle. So don’t expect a glowing elm anytime soon.

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