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Despite failed attempts to genetically engineer trees to “glow”, researchers in Denmark continue to work to isolate the genes of glowing microalgae and insert them into trees to create “natural streetlights”, according to Fast Company.

From the Fast Company piece:

If the genes could be tweaked and added to trees, they say, it could be possible for trees to stand in for standard street lighting. “We could try to change some of that lighting from conventional, electricity-consuming lights to a more natural way of creating light,” says Kristian Ejlsted, CEO of Allumen, a new startup based near Copenhagen.

A previous Kickstarter campaign for a similar project, the Glowing Plant, raised over nearly half a million dollars, but organizers later told backers that the project was a failure.

Dimitri Deheyn, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said any project like this presents ethical challenges.

“The problem remains the same on the ethics of using genetically engineered trees,” Deheyn told Fast Company. “What happens to the animals and plants that surround them, cross-fertilize with them, or feed on them?”

See the full article here. 

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