The Production Of Modifying Tobacco Plants Essay

The Production Of Modifying Tobacco Plants Essay

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The first bioluminescence in plants was achieved by genetically modifying tobacco plants. This was accomplished by using luciferase from a species of fireflies known as Photinus pyralis. The protein was expressed with the cauliflower mosaic virus promoter and luciferin was added to the genetically modified plants by watering them with it. This produced light emission when the plants were placed on a photographic film. Although this was successful, the light could only be produced when the substrate luciferin was added to the plants. The gene sequence for luciferase has already been identified, however the sequence for the production of luciferin is still not known. This can change due to the fact that DNA sequencing is faster and cheaper now, but until then the addition of the substrate luciferin is required for the plants to glow.
The oxidation of luciferin by luciferase produces oxyluciferin which cannot be used to produce light anymore. It is a competitive inhibitor for the production of luminescence since it can block the active site on the enzyme luciferase. However, researchers identified an enzyme that has the ability to recycle this used up luciferin substrate. The enzyme is called luciferin regenerating enzyme or LRE and it can recover D-luciferin with the help of D-cysteine. The LRE can remove the oxyluciferin with the addition of D-cysteine providing a step towards prolonging the light output from the organism.
Bacterial luminescence is also another possible way for plants being able to produce light. Some of the known bacteria that are luminescent are found in the genera Aliivibrio, Photobacterium, Alteromonas, and Photorhabdus. The light emission system present in the bacteria is encoded by the gene known as lux o...


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... luminous flux. A genetically engineered plant that produces light must have a minimum output of 1000 lumens in order to be comparable with conventional lighting. Fast growing trees have a photosynthetic efficiency, which is the fraction of light energy that can be converted to chemical energy, of about 2% of the total solar energy. This means about 28 W/m2 can be absorbed and stored within the plants. If a tree absorbs this amount of energy during midday, it would only have about half the energy by night time. The tree could be genetically modified in order to only output the light when it is dark which would allow for a greater output. This can be made possible by diverting a portion of the available surplus of energy in the tree to the production of light. The procedure to be able to achieve this may be challenging but it can be made possible with more research.

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