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Glowing Hosta


I think the growth effect would be small as bioluminescence uses very little
energy.  It is a very efficient source of light.  What Roy probably saw in
the tropics was bioluminescent fungi as there are no naturally occurring
luminescent plants.  The plant material was most likely infected with
luminescent fungi.  We have similar wood rotting fungi here which can often
be found in wet areas.  The old timers called this luminescence, fox fire.
I worked on bioluminescence for ten years while I was at the University of
Georgia, and it was one of the most interesting projects I participated in.
There are luminescent earthworms (some native to Georgia), fungi, fish
(import their light emitting systems from other creatures), coelenterates
(jellyfish), bacteria (marine), insects (beetles and glow worms), centipedes
(the French dried these during WW1 and used the wet powder to read maps),
and dinoflagelates (small marine phytoplankton), and shrimp.

The problem with luminescent Hosta would be that most of the light would be
lost due to the chlorophyll in the leaves.  The white variegations would
glow the brightest.  Might be fun.  A luminesent H. Loyalist would be most
interesting with a glowing center and dark edges.

Ben Z, is right, you do manipulate genes by hybridizing plants.  There is,
however, a big difference between moving genes by crossing within an genera,
and importing genes from unrelated organisms (such as putting firefly genes
in plants).

Jim Anderson

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