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Bioglow: Creating Plants that Glow in the Dark

Imagine a street at night that is not illuminated with yellow lamps or LED diodes but with colourful glowing plants and trees on the sides. What sounds like a scenario from a fantasy or science-fiction story could become reality sooner than one might think. There were some experiments with luminescent plants in the past but they all relied on paint, injected chemicals or external UV-lights to create the glowing effect. Scientists have now discovered a way to genetically modify plants so that they can emit light on their own, similar to glowing bugs.

The molecular biologist Dr. Alexander Krichevsky is the inventor and responsible for the main scientific work on this field. He founded the company Bioglow in St. Louis, Missouri and is working on making the autoluminescent flowers, trees and shrubs a working reality. Bioglow already produced the first commercially glowing plant called Starlight Avatar™. It is a genetically modified variety of the Nicotiana alata, also known as Winged Tobacco. Throughout its life cycle it emits a greenish light that can be seen best in absolute dark. According to Bioglow the light of future plants could be shining in many different colours like blue or red. The spectacular prototype of a autoluminescent plant is right now only available in a limited amount. 20 specimen can be purchased by auction on the Bioglow website.

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