Biohacking Kickstarter project promises glowing plant seeds

May 9, 2013
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Biohacking Kickstarter project promises glowing plant seeds

Many of us use small lights throughout our flats or homes, whether they're in the form of night lights, mood lights, or lighting accents. The number of lights used increases when you look out your front door, with street lamps lining the roads, for example. In the future, all those lights could be replaced by plants - glowing plants. Such is one of the goals of a synthetic biology project on Kickstarter that promises certain backers seeds to grow their own glowing plants.

According to the individuals behind the project, a lot of the work has already been done, including the development of the DNA designs, researching the legality of creating plants that glow, and more. The Kickstarter is to raise funds for printing the DNA and bringing the project to fruition. The sequence printing is done via the Genome Compiler.

Once printed, the DNA sequences are then inserted into the plants, resulting in plants that naturally glow. The process is being done using bioluminescence genes and the Arabidopsis flowering plant. The insertion process will be done via "a special type of bacteria" that imparts its own DNA into the plant, which is shuttled to the seeds, with those seeds then growing a plant that glows straight from the dirt.

According to the project's page, it costs at least a quarter of a dollar per DNA base pairs, with the DNA they have created coming in at 10,000 base pairs. The printing of several sequences is planned. The project was seeking $65,000, and has thus far hit $284,373, with 28 days remaining. The minimum pledge is $1, but you have to shell out at least $5 to get anything in return, with $40 being the minimum amount to receive seeds. If you're feeling especially generous, you can pledge $10,000, for which any word under 30 characters will be written via DNA into the plant's genome.

[via Kickstarter]


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