There is currently a group known as Glowing Plant that has already invented a plant that glows and they are currently in their final stages of preparing their glow in the dark seeds to be sold to the public. Their system works by using computer designed DNA and inserting it into plants. The first glow in the dark plant was made in 1986 but wasn’t very bright. The plant needed a constant supply of luciferian and couldn’t glow automatically. In 2010 and iGEMteam created eGlowli which were bacteria that could glow in the dark and were extremely bright. This team gathered all the research that gone into these projects and invented their own self-automated bioluminescence plant. You can pre-order the seeds now for $40 but you can also buy the kit for $300 and the plant already grown for $100.
"Glowing Plant | Seeds." Glowing Plant | Seeds. N.p., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
There could be difficulties and problems associated with the execution of the project. First, the genes that code for bioluminescence in organisms need to be isolated. It would be difficult at a microscopic level to code for luciferin and then to use the luciferase enzyme on that luciferin. The organisms that are worked on, such as bacteria, might simply not be capable of producing luciferin, making the process difficult. If the process works, it is likely that not much light would be produced; it is more likely that the process will not yield much light rather that a lot of light. Also, if the procedure was applied to eukaryotes instead of prokaryotes, the process would be much more difficult...the greater complexity of the eukaryote genome means that a greater variety and complexity of control mechanisms is necessary. There are also more steps in the transcription and translation process for eukaryotes.
We have not yet been able to test a procedure, but the procedure could involve using microprojectile bombardment/a "gene gun", a device used to insert genetic information into a cell. The device uses mediums like microscopic gold or copper particles that are coated with genetic information, and these particles enter the cell with the genes inserted simultaneously. The isolated genes that code for luciferin production in bioluminescent organisms could be isolated and transferred into a bacterium using this method, and then luciferase could be used to create light. This method could be used on bacteria, but it is not the only possible way to test the design; it could also be used on plant cells.
"Transformation 2 - Transformation Methods." Plant and Soil Sciences ELibrary. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2016.
We expect that in our tests that the we could receive little to no light in our plants considering that the plant cells could possibly reject the DNA or that it doesn’t replicated in all of the cells in the plant. Another result would be that we could kill our plants by trying alter it's DNA. However, if everything were to turn out well in our plants we could also possibly create our very own bioluminescence plant. This is the best possible scenario but it's most likely not feasible for us to achieve this considering we do not have the funding/ experience to create this on our own. We would need to run many tests and analyze how our plants are doing with the added chemicals.
In order for our plants to produce light, there has to be something inside of the cells to generate the light first. Light in bioluminescence is generated by a reaction between luciferase and luciferin. The way to start this is to put an inverter that can turn on a protein in the absence of light. This ensures that the plants will only glow at night. The protein activated by that inverter will then produce luciferase, which in turn reacts with existing luciferin in the cell. This reaction is what we observe as the glow from a plant. The protein that is switched on to produce luciferase is referred to as adenylazyne
"BL Web: Chemistry." BL Web: Chemistry. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://biolum.eemb.ucsb.edu/chem/>.
What if we used trees to light our streets? What if we could engineer plants to glow? Fireflies, jellyfish, and other organisms already light up, so why not use their natural ability to light up and give it to plants and trees? All these are good, important questions, and they have fueled our smaller-scale investigation into bio-luminescence . We also have to consider a few ethical questions, including: "Should we be genetically modifying plants?", "Should we release 'glowing plants/organisms' into the open without knowing the effects they could have on the ecosystems around them?", and "Is it worth the risk to develop this technology?". These questions are being debated and talked about in the field, and one has to consider these before moving forward. Although genetic engineering is viewed by some as an empowering and exciting field, full of endeavors that could greatly advance life as we know it, there are definitely problems associated with what *could* go wrong, and this is something we are taking into account in our own team.