Friday, 21 September 2012

Glowing Potatoes

Hey guys, today my blog will be about glowing potatoes and the genetics involved. Let me start off with telling you how the thought came across. It started about 10 years ago when a bunch of scientists decided to map the genome of a potato. It then diverged into genetically modifying the potatoes into withstanding certain pesticides, herbicides, diseases and stuff like that.

However with the price of water drastically increasing this was a higher demand priority. As you already know plants are not like animals, they can’t really say something and water is given to them. And with potato farming since the potatoes are in the ground it is hard to see how they are growing, so most farmers either over or under water them the produce, which can give bad result.

This was the occurring phenomenon until a Professor of the University of Edinburgy Antony Trewavas said ‘The best-placed organism that can tell you what is happening in terms of environmental insults like dehydration and mineral depletion is the plant itself.’  So with that in mind the researchers tried to accomplish it.

They did this sort of like the techniques we have been doing over the past few weeks, by cutting a gene and inserting it into another cell. Except they cut the gene that produced the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) form the Aequorea victoria, jelly fish, and just inserting it into the potato genome. The GFP gene was attached to the potatoes water conserving gene. So when the potato first senses that it is in need of water, and consequently starts conserving water, the inserted process of producing the GFP is also made active. So the potato leaves glow fluorescent green.

This can be seen as a good or a bad advantage. Good because it assists the farmer in when to water the potatoes, which would save money on water, approximately $330 per hectar. And yes that isn’t that much however for a 200 or 300 hectare plantation over say 10 years the benefits would be appreciated.

But also bad because when they go on sale in the supermarket, not many people would like the idea of buying a genetically modified potato.

However this is not the extent of this testing! Researchers are also testing weather if the GFP gene is added to the right parts of the chromosome, whether it can report on the nitrate, phosphate and sucrose status. As well as trying this technique in other plants and vegetables.

By Mitchell Everlyn 42936248

1 comment:

  1. put a pictur of a glowing potatoe you freaking scrublord