In a dazzling breakthrough, Light Bio, a cutting-edge synthetic biology startup, has unveiled its revolutionary Firefly™ Petunias in the United States. Partnering with biotech giants like NFX and Ginkgo Bioworks, the company is transforming the horticultural landscape with ethereal, bioluminescent plants that promise to illuminate homes, gardens, and public spaces.
Scientists have taken the fascination with glowing plants to new heights by enhancing their brightness up to 100 times. Published in Nature Methods, the research showcases genetic modifications inspired by luminous mushrooms, resulting in plants that radiate a mesmerizing glow. The team, comprising 26 scientists from 9 research organizations, harnessed genes from various mushroom species to optimize the bioluminescence, building on a previous breakthrough that revealed the surprising connection between mushroom bioluminescence and plant metabolism.
This genetic innovation extends beyond plants, as it also elevates luminescence in yeast and mammalian cells. The self-sustaining luminescence in plants, particularly petunias, ensures perpetual illumination without external assistance. Light Bio is set to launch the Firefly™ Petunia in April, available for purchase on their website. Approved by the USDA, these genetically engineered plants offer plant enthusiasts a unique experience of living light.
Priced at $29 USD per plant, customers can order 50,000 Firefly™ Petunias, with shipments across the 48 contiguous states in the US starting in April. Light Bio’s choice of the petunia as its flagship product stems from its popularity and ease of cultivation. The Firefly™ Petunia seamlessly blends with conventional petunias during the day but transforms into a radiant spectacle at night, reminiscent of the bioluminescent paradise depicted in the Avatar movies.
Keith Wood, CEO of Light Bio, expresses excitement for the decades-long journey culminating in this milestone, bringing a magical experience to people across the country. Collaborating with Ginkgo Bioworks, Light Bio aims to continually enhance the brightness of bioluminescent plants, anticipating plants ten times brighter in the future, with more varieties and colors. Beyond the sheer joy they bring, these plants offer insights into plant physiology, potentially advancing critical areas like food security and nutrition.
About Light Bio
Established in 2019, Light Bio pioneers synthetic biology, crafting vibrant bioluminescent plants through proprietary technology and advanced genetic engineering. Backed by industry leaders like NFX and Ginkgo Bioworks, the company is on a mission to infuse the magic of living light into ornamental horticulture.