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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adams

Glowing Petunias

Updated: Feb 24

IF YOU’VE READ MY BLOG, you know I like fruit, veggies, and flowers. My postings over the last five years contain essays about the joy that the plant world brings to me, to locals, and tourists alike. Plants play a key role in the “farm-to-table” movement that is in full force around our 45th parallel and along M-22.

Plants are the cornerstone of our Agri-tourism and serve as a major force in the lifestyle that we enjoy and from which we prosper in the region’s economy. Garden plants happen to greet me every morning off my front porch in season and bring this experience even closer to home.

Genetics has played a pivotal role in improving plant adaptability in our region. Apples, cherries, and grapes are the leading fruits of our region keyed to our sandy soils and the unique micro-climate formed by the moderating effects of Lake Michigan. They have had a century of improvements led by research efforts and outreach activities at Michigan State University.

I am the furthest thing from a science writer, but I am fascinated by the activity of our planet's genetic investigations that have led to amazing improvements in the plant world. A new horizon is upon us. The introduction of advanced sciences has researchers borrowing genes from one species to create a whole new category of plants in another. This is so cool.

For my followers, I admit I'm still stuck on Mendel’s smooth or wrinkled peas or my brown eyes. We’ll leave this advanced genetic stuff to those trained and well-versed in the sciences.

So, relax, stay open, and read about a firm that has developed a Firefly Petunia that glows in the dark (bioluminescence) borrowing some genes from a mushroom. I’m ordering a plant to see what this is all about.

I must also commit to staying awake past 10 PM. That will be the real miracle.

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