Why Biotech Needs Flowers That Change Color

A flower that changes colour on demand, from red to blue and back to red within a day. Why would one not want it? Because biotech is an evil enterprise that doesn’t offer much of value. WRONG!

Biotech is all around us and not just in our drugs and food as many people still believe. People just don’t realize it and look at it with suspicion because fear of the unknown is one of the most basic of our tendencies. In a survey earlier this year, it was found that 80% of Americans support labelling of all food containing DNA. Just a quick fact in case you support it too: all life forms have DNA.

Those Americans aren’t stupid in not knowing the fact. It’s just that the biotech industry has been too arrogant to make the effort to teach them so. Or as Keira Havens, CEO of Revolution Bioengineering, aptly put the attitude in a recent article in BioCoder: “Don’t worry about it, you won’t understand”

Websites of all kind that have featured news about biotechnology in the recent years have been abuzz with one term the most, synthetic biology. It’s just a fancier term for biotechnology and aims to finally bring elements of engineering into genetic engineering. But, it is much more than its tall tales of attempting to engineer novel life forms and solve global problems where biotechnology (and other technologies) have struggled. So, what’s totally new that was long overdue?

Synthetic biology aims to open up biology and engage people. Many of us have more computing power in our pockets than the first spaceship had. Realization of Moore’s law made it possible, but what made us want it? I’d bet on the wonder people had getting their hands on an Atari console. Revolution Bioengineering is making a color changing flower that has the potential to do the same for biotechnology.

As of now, Revolution Bioengineering is hosting a crowdfunding campaign (click on the pic below) on Indiegogo to make this flower a reality.

Beautiful biotechnology!

If you’re not acquainted with biotechnology, but would like to see the first of its kind, beautiful, consumer biotechnology fund this project. If it seems pricey to you, remember Apple II costed $1,298 (or $5,052 when adjusting for inflation). You can do so much more now for a fraction of that price. Similarily, these insanely beautiful flowers are just the beginning of an era.

If you are related to biotechnology, please help make the field more visible, open, and beautiful. In either case or if you’re unable to fund, do SHARE this post. The importance may not be evident now, but this project could well prove to be pivotal for biotechnology and, hence, our future.


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