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Scientists invented a method to make living plants glow

Scientists invented a method to make living plants glow

We have all seen the movie "Avatar", and it is undoubtedly one of the best movie art works on the screen. If there is one thing about Pandora's fantasy world that you will remember, it must be a gorgeous glowing plant. Plants on the earth usually do not emit light, but engineers have developed methods to use the bioluminescent properties of some light-emitting fungi to induce plants to emit light.

Now, a scientific research team has taken another big step forward. The plants they created not only emit light briefly but will last a lifetime. These plants are the subject of a new research paper published in Nature Biotechnology.

Some of these scientists have worked on short-term luminescent plants, and they have used the knowledge of bioluminescent fungi to modify the way plants use caffeic acid. Caffeic acid plays a vital role in the luminescence of certain fungi. It is also present in all plants, so the researchers genetically modified the plants to convert caffeic acid into a compound called fluorescein. This compound can produce luminescent substances in fungi.

(Caffeic acid is an essential molecule for plants to make cell walls and is a component of lignin, so it exists in all plants. In luminescent fungi, caffeic acid generates light through the metabolic cycle of four enzymes. The simple understanding is that scientists rely on coffee (Acid transformed this part of the light-emitting gene of the fungus into other plants.)

As stated in the Science Alert, what makes this finding particularly interesting is the method researchers used to transform plants—they used tobacco plants in the initial test (genes are simple and grow fast) —they can be infinite The non-stop production of luminescent compounds. In the study of other light-emitting plants, the leaves can only keep glowing for a short time. This is not the case with this new breed, they will continue to glow from germination to death.

But why did you make plants that emit light? This is a good question, but scientists also have a satisfactory answer.

The researchers stated that By enabling autonomous luminescence, it's possible to watch dynamic processes in plants including development, pathogenic mechanisms, responses to environmental conditions, and effects of chemical treatments. After detaching from exogenous fluorescein or other substrates, such luminous ability It should be particularly useful for plant experiments growing in soil. 

The long-term benefits of this work may include scientists being able to more accurately determine why certain plants respond to various environmental conditions, while also monitoring the health of the plant through what is basically visible inside the plant.

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