Plants have been used for centuries as medicines – now genetically modified plants can produce plastic, skin tissue agents and human blood proteins.
Biotechnologists have created genetically modified (GM) plants that can grow plastic. They managed this by inserting 4 genes from a plastic-producing bacteria into varieties of oilseed rape (Eurasian plant) and cress. Conventional plastics are made from oil and do not degrade easily, but the plant plastic is biodegradable. But it is expensive, at this costing five times more than petroleum-derived plastic. BTW, the word plastic comes from the Greek plastikos, meaning “to form” or “to shape.”
Money doesn’t grow on trees but one day, perhaps, credit cards will!
Actually, man has been “genetically modifying” everything from food to dogs for many centuries, but in the past the only tool has been selective breeding. There are a variety of ways that scientists now modify plants and animals with genetic engineering techniques (see How Stuff Works).
Take good care of your plants
In the meantime, before you grow your own plastic plants, take good care of your real plants. Clean them often, speak to them, and play them some nice music – there is a lot of research that shows that playing melodic or classical music to plants make them grow healthier.