MadSci Network: Genetics

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

Date: Fri Apr 30 17:57:13 1999
Posted By: Brian Foley, Post-doc/Fellow Molecular Genetics
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 925487709.Ge

Anything is possible, I guess.  I do recall seeing the picture of a glowing
tobacco plant, but I wonder if it only glowed very dimly, and they needed
something like a 2 hour exposure of the film.  In my molecular genetics
class, I was disappointed when we mixed a lefotover vial of luciferase
with leftover luciferin and ATP ina test tube.  It didn't glow at all that
the naked eye could see.  Only a luminometer, light detector could detect
the output.  It made me wonder how much luciferase the fireflies put out.

How about instead of engineering a glowing tree, we just breed some
fireflies and sell them at Christmas, along with some firefly food that you
put in the tree to keep the flies there?


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