MadSci Network: Genetics

Subject: Would it be possible to engineer a glowing Christmas tree?

Date: Fri Apr 30 10:55:09 1999
Posted by Katie Hill
Grade level: undergrad School: Pensacola Christian College
City: St Charles State/Province: Mo Country: US
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 925487709.Ge

Would it be possible to genetically engineer a Christmas tree that would 
produce the same glowing effect as seen in the tobacco plant that had the 
gene for production of luciferase inserted into it's DNA?  Such a tree could 
be marketted as a tree that needs no Christmas lights.  The money generated 
through sales could be fed directly into your science research programs, and 
the trees could be sold with pamphlets that would further educate the public 
about recombinant DNA and genetic engineering.  Two setbacks to this idea are 
that the tree would probably have to be kept alive to maintain luciferase 
production, and that it would be hard to manufacture enough luciferose to water 
the trees with to produce the glowing effect.  Would it be possible though to 
create synthetic luciferose factories in  bacterium?  You could also sell the 
trees small and in pots to keep them alive.  Would the trees be able to 
reproduce trees of the same kind?  It might seem like a far fetched idea, but it 
also just might work.

Re: Would it be possible to engineer a glowing Christmas tree?

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