Genetically engineered plants

by | Apr 27, 2023 | Living in the Future | 0 comments

Your Garden Center Doesn’t Carry THESE (yet…)

Maybe you wanted to add a pop of color to a living space or just enjoy tending to living things and watching them grow. But people have been keeping indoor plants for a variety of reasons since ancient times.

One of the best reasons? They clean the air.

On a global scale, plants are the reason we have oxygen to breathe. On a more local one, they can improve the quality of air in a house by filtering out harmful chemicals.

Any old houseplant can do the job, but a company called Neoplants (not to be confused with Neopets) is using genetic engineering to make pothos plants that filter impurities 30 times more effectively. Compared to what, you might ask? The exact same pothos plant without the modification.

They mapped the pothos plant’s genome, figured out how it filters air, and tinkered until they made it do that job better.

When humans explore space, whether it be permanent colonies on the moon or Mars or deep-space exploration, it’s not going to be with off-the-shelf (or out-of-the-soil) solutions from nature. They’ll be using bio-engineered plants to recycle air and provide astronauts and colonists with clean oxygen.

In the meantime, you can buy them yourself here on Earth. They’re more expensive than most plants (by a good margin) but generally seem cheaper than HEPA air purifiers. Of course, you don’t have to water a HEPA filter, and I haven’t heard of cats trying to eat one.

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