Glowing Plants are a step toward true natural lighting

Green lighting has been a prized aspiration for quite some time. People increasingly love the idea of living in tandem with the environment rather than at its expense. The latest idea? Glowing Plants (funding through June 7), what the trio behind the idea call the first step in creating sustainable natural lighting.

The team is writing genetic sequences using Genome Compiler. Normally, those schematics would then be sent to a DNA printing facility with fees starting at 25 cents per base pair. Given a 10,000-pair-per-sequence size, that’s a bit cost prohibitive. Cambrian Genomics, however, has developed a laser method of printing that the team will use at massively reduced costs.

The end goal is to insert bioluminescence genes into Arabidopsis, “a small flowering plant and member of the mustard family.” The printed DNA is inserted in bacteria that can in turn insert its DNA into the plant. Flora dipped into the bacterial solution should begin producing seeds whose adult forms glow.

For $40, you can get a batch of seeds to grow your own plants. If prefer to let experts handle it for you, $150 will earn you a fully grown glowing plant. And if you’d like to perform the entire process on your own shrubbery, the group will send you a kit for $250. With about a month to go, funding has blown past the $65,000 goal, and the team was more than half way to its $400,000 stretch goal mark. If reached, everybody who opted for the $150 tier will receive a glowing rose plant in addition.

Confidence level

We’re dealing with version 1.0 here, and what you receive certainly won’t be replacing your light bulbs. Neither is there a guarantee this field will be as fruitful as desired. And delivery isn’t expected until the May/June 2014 timeframe, so you’re going to have to wait a while to see if the project really flowers. That said, the people behind it have the experience and degrees, so we’ll just have a wait (quite a while) and see.

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