The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'glow in the dark'


A private group of genetic engineers in the US have a plan to create light-emitting plants for “sustainable natural lighting”. The plants will include the luciferase gene, as present in fireflies and genetically modified rabbits commissioned by artists; the ultimate aim is to provide a better than carbon-neutral replacement for street lights and household lamps.

To create the glowing plants, the team will first generate modified genes with the Genome Compiler software, then insert them into Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to mustard and cabbage (they make sure to point out that the plant is not edible). The main gene, luciferase, is the same one that makes fireflies light up the night.
As luciferase is not sufficiently bright to light a street, or even a living room, the project will require optimisation; the engineers already have enhanced the gene's light output to an extent.

A Kickstarter campaign was started to fund the research, with those (in the US) contributing $40 or more to receive a packet of glowing plant seeds in return. To day, the campaign, which aimed for $65,000, has raised $216,536, with 33 days to go.

It'll be interesting to see if this is successful; will we see streets lit by fluorescing trees, or find ourselves putting a plantshade over the bedside plant when going to sleep? And will plants that emit a useful amount of light need to be fed large quantities of a sufficiently high-energy plant food to keep glowing?

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A technological solution for the next blackout: glow-in-the-dark lightbulbs. 15 minutes of incandescent light from the filament will charge the bulb so that it glows for the next 24 hours. (via Techdirt)

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First a Brazilian artist commissioned a glow-in-the-dark rabbit, and now a biotech company is displaying fluorescent white mice at the Bio Taiwan 2003 expo. With photo, though whether they really look like that is debatable. (via jwz)

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The future of household pets looks like the Night Pearl, a genetically-modified tropical fish that glows in the dark and doesn't need aquarium lights. This could lead to a revolution in designer pets, including non-allergenic cats, odourless dogs, and exotic-looking pets requiring very little maintenance and doubling as lighting fixtures, as well as numerous unintended consequences:

And that is the scenario that worries British aquarium enthusiasts. 'One idea being explored is to add genes - taken from cold water fish - that will allow tropical fish to live in unheated aquarium,' said Derek Lambert, editor of Today's Fishkeeper. 'Just imagine what would happen if they got released. You could end up with strange coloured GM tropical fish in our waters.'

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Alba the glowing rabbit, genetically engineered at the commission of conceptual artist Eduardo Kac, is dead. Though there is some dispute over just how brightly the rabbit really glowed.

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Scientists in the US have created a genetically modified piglet with a glowing snout and trotters. The piglet's DNA contains jellyfish genes, turning its snout and trotters fluorescent yellow. Brazilian artist Eduardo Kac does not appear to be involved. (via Found)

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Eduardo Kac, the Brazilian conceptual artist who proposed creating a transgenic glowing dog with gene-splicing, has partly realised his idea with a glowing rabbit. The rabbit, named Alba, is an albino rabbit whose genes have been modified to incorporate Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). (via bOING bOING)

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Brazilian artist discusses the artistic promises of genetic engineering, proposes creating a transgenic glowing dog:

Transgenic art, I propose, is a new art form based on the use of genetic engineering techniques to transfer synthetic genes to an organism or to transfer natural genetic material from one species into another, to create unique living beings. Molecular genetics allows the artist to engineer the plant and animal genome and create new life forms...
Hence, my current work: GFP K-9. GFP stands for Green Fluorescent Protein, which is isolated from Pacific Northwest jellyfish (Aequorea Victoria) and which emits bright green light when exposed to UV or blue light... The use of the Green Fluorescent Protein in a dog is absolutely harmless, since GFP is species independent and requires no additional proteins or substrates for green light emission.

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