March 7, 2006
Students Create Plant that Glows When Thirsty
SINGAPORE -- Some people like to talk to their plants. Now, students at Singapore Polytechnic say they have created a plant that can communicate with people -- by glowing when it needs water.
The students said on Tuesday that they have genetically modified a plant using a green fluorescent marker gene from jellyfish, so that it "lights up" when it is stressed as a result of dehydration.
The light is hard to detect with the naked eye but can be seen using an optical sensor developed in collaboration with students at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.
The development of such plants could help farmers to develop more efficient irrigation of crops.