C. Neal Stewart

in Genetically Modified Planet

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157451
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790388 | DOI:

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Designer plants for environmental sensing and remediation are currently being produced in research labs. One such plant is designed to detect and report the presence of explosives, such as TNT, which is used in landmines. Transgenic plants could someday be used to pinpoint the exact location of buried landmines. Along with phytosensing is the cleansing of soil environments by plants or phytoremediation. Research is being conducted for the detection and phytoremediation of explosives, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Plants could also be used to produce products that currently come from petroleum, such as plastics and biofuels. Many of the future uses of transgenic plants will be specifically designed to correct environmental problems and recover endangered species. For example, the American chestnut, which has been decimated by disease, could be made blight-resistant by a single transgene, allowing it to recover its dominance in the Appalachian Mountains.

Keywords: biofuels; chestnut; environmental degradation; explosives; landmines; phytoremediation; phytosensing; TNT

Chapter.  5768 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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