Firm creates glowing ‘Avatar’ plants

by Bethany Day on January 18, 2014

Art often imitates life but in some cases life ends up imitating art.

And the latest case has seen a US biotechnology firm manipulating life to develop ornamental ‘glowing plants’ based on the ones that light up at night on an alien planet in the hit 2009 movie Avatar.

Bioglow says its Starlight Avatar is the first plant that can light up on its own without the need for ultraviolet lighting, chemicals or other external stimuli.

Company founder Alexander Krichevsky developed the plant by introducing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria to the genome of a common houseplant. The result was a plant whose leaves and stem constantly give off a faint light similar to the one produced by bioluminescent organisms such as fireflies.

Mr Krichevsky said the plants are “truly the first of their kind”, adding: “We think that glowing plants will particularly be of interest to the fans of the movie Avatar.”

In the long-term the plants could be put to more practical uses, predicts Mr Krichevsky, who is working on making the light they give off brighter.

He said an alternative way to light building interiors, highways and driveways could be made possible by the plants.

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Bethany Day

Blogger and online PR guru for Interflora UK. Interested in guest-posting on our blog? Email or connect with me.

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