Imagine walking through a park at night that is completely illuminated by the light of trees and plants.
It would probably look like something out of a scene from the movie Avatar. Turns out that might be a reality in the not so distant future.
Researchers from the glowing plant project in California have managed to transfer the genes of fireflies into plants, creating plants with the ability to illuminate themselves that might one day replace electric street lights. The researchers were experimenting with fireflies and glow worms which both produce a substance called bio-luminescence. It is the production of this substance that gives them their ability to emit naturally occurring light from their bodies.
By adding the genes that create bio-luminescence to small plants, these plants have also gained the ability to mimic these glow bugs and produce their own light. Currently the technology only works on small plants as the research is still in it’s infancy however the researchers have applied for more funding in order to use this technology on larger trees.
So rather than street street lights that require electricity which is supplied mostly from burning fossil fuels, these tree’s would not only produce light, but also produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide in the process. Even someone who’s against genetic modification would have a hard time finding this to be a bad idea.