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Plant That Won’t Glow Shows DIY Biohacking Is Overhyped

In any discussion of biohacking, Exhibit A is likely to be the “glowing plant,” the wildly successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign that raised $484,013 to create bioluminescent plants visible at night.  Just one problem, though. There is still no glowing plant. The Glowing Plant project, since renamed Taxa Biotechnologies, has not made any plants able to emit light unassisted. The seeds it promised to its backers are already two years overdue, putting the project on track to become a Kickstarter failure. Meanwhile, it continues to take pre-orders for the plant on its own website. “What it says is that biotechnology is not as easy as portrayed in the popular media,” says Todd Kuiken, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., who studies synthetic biology and was among the backers of the project. “All these stories that people are going to make viruses or new animals in their garage, well, it’s just not as …

July 15, 2016 1:19 am

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