After raising nearly half a million dollars on Kickstarter, the Glowing Plants project is accepting pre-orders and synthetic biology-ing away to deliver their natural sources of light in Fall 2014. Make no mistake, Glowing Plants are an altered form of life. Creators Antony Evans and Kyle Taylor, the latter carrying a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Stanford, have developed a way to design plant DNA sequences on a computer and then laser print that DNA into existence. Using a Gene Gun they are able to insert the DNA into seeds and award the resultant plant a healthy green glow.
The design-print-transform cycle increases a plant's luminescent output with each iteration; the more times the Glowing Plant team is able to inject treated DNA, the brighter a plant will be. It's pretty impressive in the sense that, holy crap, scientists can print and inject actual genetic material that transforms its subject, and also in the sense that a window box full of glowing plants would look rad. But, with only one working--and not entirely jaw-dropping--prototype to date, we'll see how realistic it is to mass produce seeds and plants able to consistently and dependably output enough wattage to provide usable natural lighting.
We'll also see if they're better than the mushrooms and other leafy greens programmed by the computational device that is Mother Nature to grow 'n' glow on their own.
Those who want to be part of the process, or just call dibs on one of the first Gene Gunned Glowing Plants, can pre-order their choice of seeds (pack of 50 to 100), a fledgling Glowing Arabidopsis, or a Glowing Rose (the latter will not ship prior to June 2015).