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Will the street lights of the future be bioluminescent plants?  Genetic engineering experiment

Will the street lights of the future be bioluminescent plants? Genetic engineering experiment

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A team of researchers from Imperial College London, the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and a biotech startup in Moscow called Planta have developed a method to produce different plant species (including the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum L.whose genetic code is known and grows rapidly) the ability to Bioluminescence, meaning that they independently emit visible light. these Bioluminescent plants Obtained withGenetic EngineeringBy inserting 5 genes from certain bioluminescent fungi into the genome of recipient plants, giving life to organisms that glow continuously throughout their life cycle and can be used for emission-free public and private lighting.

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Biochemically, the genes of bioluminescent fungi allow the plant to produce Enzymes Which converts caffeic acid (naturally found in many plants) into a molecule called caffeine Luciferin, which is what we call “luminescent precursors.” When luciferin is oxidized by the enzyme Luciferase In the presence of oxygen, it releases a PhotonAny particle of light, thus energy is produced in the form of visible light green color. This molecule then turns back into caffeic acid and the cycle begins again. Precisely because it is a cycle that the plant begins to shine constantly and throughout its life.

Using this technique, researchers were able to make the planets produce extremely bright light. 10 times higher to what has been obtained from experiments conducted in the past. In addition, the bioluminescence obtained is not harmful to plants or humans and does not require any maintenance.

Green bioluminescent lamps
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We then understood that two fungal genes involved in the bioluminescence process could be replaced by a single gene capable of performing the same function in some plants. This discovery offers great advantages in… Production of bioluminescent plantsAs required Fewer genetic conversions And also use a smaller and more compact genome, This makes it easier to integrate into other plants that do not have it naturally.

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These plants can be used to illuminate parks, streets, gardens, balconies and interiors of homes and offices, making a significant contribution to the energy transition and reducing our harmful emissions. Moreover, one of the next goals that experts focus on is to create plants whose glow is not only decorative, but can also serve as a signal to indicate their health condition. We already know, for example, that young parts of a plant glow a more intense green color than older parts, just like flowers.