Author's Note: Could glow-in-the-dark plants replace streetlights?
Would you want to live in a world that looks like a Pandora knockoff, or blares like the wall decorations of a stoner crash pad? If you said yes, would your answer change once you realize there's probably no way to turn the trees off?
Some embrace glowing plants for their symbolic value. Trees are associated with knowledge, whether in a Biblical or Newtonian sense, as are various light sources (light bulbs, lanterns and torches spring to mind). But symbols cut both ways, and a glowing tree that doesn't work -- or worse, causes harm -- is another arrow in the quiver of those who see at least some science as frivolous and not worth the risks research sometimes poses.
Either way, the phrases "do-it-yourself biolab" and "mail-order DNA foundry" give me the willies.
- Barringer, Felicity. "New Technology Inspires a Rethinking of Light." The New York Times. April 24, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/new-technology-inspires-a-rethinking-of-light.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- BBC. "U.S. Government Orders Removal of Defcad 3D-Gun Designs." May 10, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22478310
- Beck, Julie. "Trees Infused With Glowing Nanoparticles Could Replace Streetlights." Popular Science. Nov. 11, 2010. http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-11/trees-could-one-day-serve-streetlights-thanks-gold-nanoparticles
- Clynes, Tom. "The Boy Who Played With Fusion." Popular Science. Feb. 14, 2012. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-02/boy-who-played-fusion
- Dillow, Clay. "How 3-D Printing Will Turn Homes into Mini Factories." Popular Science. Nov. 16, 2012. http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-10/how-3-d-printing-will-turn-homes-mini-factories
- Evans, Antony. "Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity." Kickstarter page. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/antonyevans/glowing-plants-natural-lighting-with-no-electricit
- iGEM. "Team: Cambridge." http://2010.igem.org/Team:Cambridge
- iGEM. "Synthetic Biology Based on Standard Parts." http://igem.org/About
- Krichevsky Alexander, Benjamin Meyers, Alexander Vainstein, Pal Maliga and Vitaly Citovsky. "Autoluminescent Plants." PLoS ONE. Vol. 5, no. 11. 2010. http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0015461
- Lee, Byeong Il and Jung-Joon Min. "Molecular Imaging Using Bioluminescence." The Open Nuclear Medicine Journal. Vol. 2. Page 157. 2010. http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tonmedj/article/V002/SI0143TONMEDJ/157TONMEDJ.pdf
- Monastersky, Richard. "Firefly Gene Sets Tobacco Plants Aglow." Science News. Nov. 15, 1986. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/url/id/199905/goto/Firefly_Gene_Sets_Tobacco_Plants_Aglow
- Nagano, Yuriko. "Gold Brings Color to Water Plants." New Scientist. Nov. 25, 2010. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827885.000-glowing-trees-could-light-up-city-streets.html
- Nobel Foundation. "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008." http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2008/
- Paramaguru, Kharunya. "Glowing Plant Gets Green Light from Fan Funding." Time. May 8, 2013. http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/08/glowing-plant-gets-green-light-from-fan-funding/
- Pollack, Andrew. "A Dream of Trees Aglow at Night." The New York Times. May 7, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/business/energy-environment/a-dream-of-glowing-trees-is-assailed-for-gene-tinkering.html?pagewanted=all
- Swain, Frank. "Glowing Trees Could Light Up City Streets." New Scientist. Nov. 25, 2010. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827885.000-glowing-trees-could-light-up-city-streets.html
- The Yomiuri Shimbun. "Blue Streetlights Believed to Prevent Suicides, Street Crime." The Seattle Times. Dec. 11, 2008. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2008494010_bluelight11.html
- Timmer, John. "Why Your Streetlights Won't be Replaced by Glowing Trees Any Time Soon." Ars Technica. April 30, 2013. http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/why-your-streetlights-wont-be-replaced-by-glowing-trees-anytime-soon/
- Tsien, Roger Y. "The Green Fluorescent Protein." Annual Review of Biochemistry. Vol. 67. Page 509. 1998. http://tsienlab.ucsd.edu/Publications/Tsien%201998%20Annu.%20Rev.%20Biochem%20-%20GFP.pdf
- Wadhwa, Vivek. "DNA: The Next Big Hacking Frontier." The Washington Post. Dec. 7, 2011. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-12-07/national/35286045_1_synthetic-biology-mycoplasma-mycoides-craig-venter