Consumers in the United States can now pre-order a genetically engineered plant for their home or garden that glows continuously. At a base cost of US$29.00, residents of the 48 contiguous states can get a petunia (Petunia hybrida) with flowers that look white during the day; but, in the dark, the plant glows a faint green. Biotechnology firm Light Bio in Sun Valley, Idaho, will begin shipping a batch of 50,000 firefly petunias in April.
Researchers contacted by Nature seem enamoured by them. This is a “groundbreaking event” — to have made a plant that can bioluminesce brightly enough to be seen with the naked eye and sold to plant lovers, says Diego Orzáez, a plant biologist at the Institute of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology in Valencia, Spain. “Being a European, I have envy that consumers in the United States can have their hands on these plants.”
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