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Create GLOWING PLANTS using synthetic biology and Genome Compiler's software - the first step in creating sustainable natural lighting
Create GLOWING PLANTS using synthetic biology and Genome Compiler's software - the first step in creating sustainable natural lighting
Create GLOWING PLANTS using synthetic biology and Genome Compiler's software - the first step in creating sustainable natural lighting
8,433 backers pledged $484,013 to help bring this project to life.

Using directed evolution to improve luminosity



Some of you are probably wondering how we are working to improve the luminosity of our plant. We've already discussed some of the ways we are doing this (by testing different DNA sequences, eg promotors and codons) but here's a video from Jamey talking about how he's using Directed Evolution to improve the underlying genes:

Here are some pictures which illustrate what's going on. The first picture shows the colony's. As you can see not all of them are glowing as some of the mutations are negative:

 We then put the same plate in our luminometer and read the light intensity, as you can see there's variation between them with colony 1 showing about 10% improvement on the others. We can then analyse what those variations are, and improve the luminosity.

Analysis of luminosity of different colonys
Analysis of luminosity of different colonys


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    1. Antony Evans Creator on May 30, 2014

      Spongefile/Razmik: Thanks for the opinions. Knowing exactly when to ship is going to be a tough decision for us. It's working but it's still dim, we're worried about shipping early something this is too version 1.0 which might impact our ability to raise the funds to make version 2.0... but we do want to ship as soon as we have something reasonable. We're going to hold an event for backers at our lab in a few weeks to get feedback on what it's like in person and use that to guide the release date.

    2. spongefile
      on May 27, 2014

      While I respect the previous commenter's very politely expressed opinion, I personally am in absolutely no rush to get these plants, as long as this project isn't vaporware, ie that steady progress is being made and we will get our pledges when they're ready. So as long as there are regular (bimonthly?) updates that show things are on track and getting somewhere, I'm fine. There's no special occasion or personal deadline that I need to have these for.

    3. Missing avatar

      Razmik Ghazaryan (deleted) on May 25, 2014

      The author of this comment has been deleted.

    4. Missing avatar

      Witold Witkowski on May 8, 2014

      Hi guys, I assume you're doing colony PCR at each iteration. How many cycles have you done? What is the per generation improvement you're seeing. Also, I'm not so familiar with plant biology (crystallographer checking in), but how well does Arabidopsis do with stable (multi-generational) expression of exogenous genes?

      Thanks, good luck, and I'm eagerly awaiting my seeds!

    5. Antony Evans Creator on April 25, 2014

      Alexander: Good question. We sequence the changes each time to make sure it's a amino-acid shift not a codon shift, obviously we are only interested in the amino-acid shifts not the codon ones. Before moving into plants we adjust all the codon's anyway, the goal of this is to improve the proteins.

    6. Missing avatar

      Alexander Bilgri on April 25, 2014

      Won't this increase codon bias for your construct? Ideal sequences in bacteria will be too AT rich and not the ideal sequence in a brassica. Do you transform it onto plants everytime to measure the lumosity?


    7. Antony Evans Creator on April 25, 2014

      Jill: As we mentioned in one of the earlier updates we are delaying the shipping to continue to work on improving the luminosity. Due to the amazing support of all you backers we still have money left in the bank to keep working on the plant.

    8. Jill Mack on April 24, 2014

      Thanks for the update, Is the timeline still on track? I don't remember getting a shipping survey. I'll try to go back & read some of the older updates to see if I've missed anything. I relocated to another state & don't want to miss the seeds. So excited about this project. Keep up the Fantastic work ... Peace and Love ... Jill M. of

    9. Antony Evans Creator on April 24, 2014

      Alex: Unfortunately the redwood died, it got a fungal infection. We'll have to try again.

    10. Antony Evans Creator on April 24, 2014

      Waller: Thanks for the spelling correction, unfortunately we can't edit this now as the updates get locked by Kickstarter but I'll make sure to spell it right in the future!

    11. Alex Schulz on April 24, 2014

      I completely forgot about you guys. I am glad to hear from you again. Also as I can't find the old update. Why not plant that red wood try in front of you lab as a reminder of how far your work has come. So every night everyone can see how much light and joy this project has brought us.

    12. Missing avatar

      Waller Hastings
      on April 24, 2014

      As an English teacher rather than a scientist, although a supporter of the project, I should point out that the plural of "colony" is "colonies" - not "colonys" or "colony's." As an important concept in the research, it would probably be a good idea to correct this?