Biotech Updates

Bioluminescent Petunias to Enter US Market for the First Time

February 21, 2024

Photo source: Light Bio

Consumers in the United States can now purchase and grow the genetically engineered Firefly Petunias in their gardens and homes. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), this modified petunia is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk than other produced petunias.

This year, the biotechnology firm Light Bio announced that their plants achieved brighter bioluminescence. The co-founder of Light Bio, Karen Sarkisyan, said, “If you treat the plant really well, if it gets enough sunlight and it's healthy, it will glow brighter.”

Diego Orzáez, a plant biologist at the Institute of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology in Valencia, Spain, says that he is excited about the research potential of this technology. He is currently working on creating plants that utilize the luciferase system found in mushrooms to indicate stress or virus infections. He envisions a future where farmers could receive advanced warnings about crop issues through nighttime satellite or drone surveillance.

For more information, read the article from Nature.

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