Glowing Plant

Updates on the Glowing Plant and synthetic biology news

Antony Evans from the Glowing Plant project talks about what we need to do to bring you the plant. Please note that the timelines we talk about in the video (November shipping) are an optimistic case, this is biology and nothing in biology ever works exactly on time.

We are also wondering what topics you would like us to cover in future videos, please feel free to leave a comment below with a suggestion for what you’d like us to talk about. Maybe a deeper coverage of something we talked about before or a new topic you are interested in.

Meet the plant!!

Thank you to everyone who came to the first ‘meet the plant’ event. We enjoyed meeting all of you so much that we are going to do it again. There are three more opportunities in the Bay Area coming up to see the plant in the next few weeks, I hope you can join us:

Biocurious, Sunnyvale, Friday 1st August: Kid friendly 6-8pm. Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meet-the-glowing-plant-biocurious-tickets-12407399867
Our lab in SOMA, San Francisco, Wednesday 6th August: Kid friendly 6-7pm. Register (password is MrGlowII) at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meet-the-glowing-plant-ii-tickets-12416777917
Exploratorium After Dark (adults only) Thursday 7th August. “Science Fiction come to Life” event. Please note this is a paid event which features more than just the Glowing Plant.

Hope to see you in person soon!

hackersofsv:

“I love being on the frontier of what’s happening. DNA is everything, it’s us, it’s the code for every living creature on the planet. It’s solar power, medicine, everything. The fact that we can now manipulate it at will, that we can sell maker kits and random people can do genetic engineering at home is so exciting. What’s already possible blows my mind, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming in the next years and I love being a part of that.
Cells can be thought of a little bit like compilers. They run DNA instructions as code. We download sample code from the internet for genes from glowing bacteria, and rewrite that in such a way that it’s readable by a plant. That then gives us a nice DNA sequence, and when we’re ready, we press print. We email the file, this file of ACT and G’s, and boom, there’s an outsourced company that makes the DNA. It takes two weeks, and they ship it back to you in Fedex. It’s kind of crazy if you imagine there’s always pieces of DNA whizzing around in the mail.”
Antony Evans and Kyle Taylor | Glowing Plant

hackersofsv:

I love being on the frontier of what’s happening. DNA is everything, it’s us, it’s the code for every living creature on the planet. It’s solar power, medicine, everything. The fact that we can now manipulate it at will, that we can sell maker kits and random people can do genetic engineering at home is so exciting. What’s already possible blows my mind, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming in the next years and I love being a part of that.

Cells can be thought of a little bit like compilers. They run DNA instructions as code. We download sample code from the internet for genes from glowing bacteria, and rewrite that in such a way that it’s readable by a plant. That then gives us a nice DNA sequence, and when we’re ready, we press print. We email the file, this file of ACT and G’s, and boom, there’s an outsourced company that makes the DNA. It takes two weeks, and they ship it back to you in Fedex. It’s kind of crazy if you imagine there’s always pieces of DNA whizzing around in the mail.”

Antony Evans and Kyle Taylor | Glowing Plant

Plants ‘remember’ drought, change responses to survive

Plants subjected to a previous period of drought learn to deal with the stress thanks to their memories of the previous experience, University of Nebraska-Lincoln research has found.

The findings could lead to development of crops better able to withstand drought.

Johan managed to capture the first photo of the Glowing Plant on a smartphone at the backer party on Friday (he used a special long exposure app designed to let you take pictures at night). Looking forward to more of your pictures in the future!

Johan managed to capture the first photo of the Glowing Plant on a smartphone at the backer party on Friday (he used a special long exposure app designed to let you take pictures at night). Looking forward to more of your pictures in the future!

Meet the Plant

We thought it was time for some of you to come and meet the plant, so we are hosting an event in San Francisco in two weeks time. We aren’t really sure how many backers are in or near San Francisco so we’ve set capacity initially at 25 people. If more people want to come please join the waitlist and we’ll try to increase the capacity or find a bigger venue.

Backers can register for the event via the link we included in the last backer update, log into your Kickstarter account to get it.

We’ll be demoing the plant we made with Agrobacterium so this is still a prototype.

June update

It’s been another month of solid progress. The biggest news this month is that we signed a contract with a company that can help us clone much longer pieces of DNA much faster. This removes a key bottleneck in the speed with which we can design and test different DNA sequences. The first batch we tested was a mixed success, with 9 out of 14 constructs being made correctly. We will be debugging the process in the next few weeks and hope to soon be able to increase our capacity to test 50 designs every month which should significantly speed up the rate of development of a brighter plant. You can see the improvements we’ve been making in our infrastructure, and how big a jump 50 will be, in this chart of the number of sequences we’ve tested per month:

In order to be able to increase our throughput capacity that much we’ve also had to streamline the processes we use to test the dna sequences. This has required refinements to our existing protocols and testing the changes. We’ve also developed a process for testing the DNA in cotyledons (little baby seedlings) as well as in our transient lead disc cultures.You can read more about the FAST protocol for engineering the cotyledons here:

http://m.cshprotocols.cshlp.org/content/2010/5/pdb.prot5428.long

Jamey got married and went on honeymoon so the protein engineering work progressed more slowly than it usually does. The latest strains are now 3.5 times brighter than the original strain. We’ve been analyzing the mutations we’ve made to uncover what’s making the glow better but so far have only found silent mutations (ie no change to amino acid sequence). We are also redesigning the protocol so that it makes more of the mutations we want to see.

Finally this month we’ve started the regulatory process for the maker kit. Because the kit includes agro-bacterium, which is a plant pest, we have to get a permit from the USDA to ship it. This has required a whole lot of paperwork and even necessitated a trip to a winery near Livermore to register (not such a bad day out!).

So looking forward to meeting some of you in the flesh in a couple of weeks.

The Glowing Plant team

PS A few of you have asked about other DIY Bio / Syn Bio crowdfunding campaigns. The Bay Area DIY Bio labs are launching an Indiegogo campaign on Tuesday to raise funds for their entry into this years iGem competition. It’s the first year that iGem has allowed community labs into the competition so this is exciting. I’ll tweet a link to the campaign once they go live so look out for that if you are interested in supporting Vegan Cheese, it’s going to be found at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/real-vegan-cheese

Also a core part of our mission is educating people about genetics in plants, so we have started offering kits for growing your own mutant plants. The idea of these kits are that you can see the amazing variation in plants phenotype based on small genetic changes. In the seed kit you get a random assortment of mutant plant seeds which you can grow to see the differences and learn about genetics. You can get these from our etsy store (they ship in a few weeks): https://www.etsy.com/listing/194439012/mutant-seeds-what-surprise-mutant-plants

Registering glowing plants at the usda office in Livermore this morning

Registering glowing plants at the usda office in Livermore this morning

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