Illuminating Essay

781 words - 4 pages

My brother and I ran through the fields full of flickering lights that dotted the night sky. I clasped my hand around any glimpse of light that I could see until finally, I caught a firefly. In my hands, I held a little light that could one day become the light of the world through the usage of bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light from living organisms. After years of research, scientists have been able to pinpoint the exact mechanism that allows for light to be radiated. This breakthrough discovery has made bioluminescence a potential solution to cancer, resource depletion, military development, pollution, and so much more.
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However, bioluminescence holds a promising solution to a better world.
The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it in the first place. To solve the problem of water scarcity is to cut down on the usage of water. Every day, almost 128 billion gallons of water are used for irrigation in America alone. Yet, approximately 40% of this water is wasted due to the over watering of crops. We can prevent this with the usage of bioluminescent plants that glow when dehydrated. Anthony Trewavas, a biologist at Cambridge University, was the first to experiment with the idea of smart plants. He created a potato that would glow when it needed water. This extraordinary feat was accomplished by extracting a green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a jellyfish called Aequorea victoria. GFP is used because it can create its own chromophores, the part of the molecule responsible for color, through many chemical transformations. GFP consists of three amino acids: serine-tyrosine-glycine. The chemical bond of serine and glycine triggers the spontaneous dehydration of the molecule. Then, oxygen bonds with tyrosine and creates a fluorescent chromophore. GFP can be extracted, purified, cloned, and then inserted into a potato to allow the potato to glow when it is dehydrated. Despite this great solution, many people are...

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