So, how would you like to walk down your neighborhood street and have your way lit by trees rather than street lamps - and I don't mean lamps that look like trees, I mean actual living tress that glow in the dark? While that sort of thing may look enchanting in the movies on far-flung Pandora, we would be introducing something we artificially created into nature, and that sounds a wee bit dicey. I often think that scientists and researchers sometimes enter into things with more hubris than actual knowledge of what they are embarking upon, and this sounds like one of those cases.
Synthetic biology is a nebulous term and it is difficult to say how, if at all, it differs from genetic engineering.
In its simplest form, genetic engineering involves snipping a gene out of one organism and pasting it into the DNA of another. Synthetic biology typically involves synthesizing the DNA to be inserted, providing the flexibility to go beyond the genes found in nature.
NYTimesThe glowing plant project is the brainchild of Mr. [Antony] Evans, a technology entrepreneur in San Francisco, and Omri Amirav-Drory, a biochemist. They met at Singularity University, a program that introduces entrepreneurs to futuristic technology.
|Pandora at night (Avatar 2009)|