Fans of the movie “Avatar” are in luck. A team of researchers funded by the biotechnology start-up Planta has developed glow-in-the-dark plants using DNA extracted from fungi. In the future, they hope to be able to sell glowing roses or a whole garden of natural light.
It all stems from the discovery of bioluminescence in some fungi as a similar natural process in plants. This allowed scientists to take the DNA from the fungus and create new plants that shine much brighter than has been possible with other techniques in the past.
So far they have only created one version of the tobacco plant, but they hope to be able to produce roses, and other garden flowers in the future that will shine brighter than was previously possible and throughout their entire life cycle.
The new plants are at least ten times brighter than previous attempts using firefly DNA and the experiment was successfully completed without harming the health of the plant that carries the new, glowing DNA.