The Planet

Scientists just used rabbit DNA to create a new kind of powerful, air purifying plant.

by Rachel Reilich

December 28, 2018
(Images via Creative Commons)

Looks like Rabbit Air, the company behind this sleek-looking Air Purifier, has some stiff—and very weird—competition. Scientists added mammal DNA to a houseplant to create a new kind of air purifier—one with the added benefit of beautifying your home and providing something for your cat to knock over. What mammal’s DNA did they use, you ask? A Rabbit’s.

If this doesn’t lead to some serious “Rabbit Air” turf wars, I will be severely disappointed.

The scientists chose a plant called “Devil’s Ivy” (because, you know, they are clearly scientists from a 1960s Bond movie), then added a synthetic version of a rabbit gene called P450 2e1 (not the worst baby name I’ve heard). In rabbits, the gene helps the body dispose of chemicals by promoting an enzyme that breaks them down. Apparently, the same thing happens when you add it to plants.

The team tested their new-fangled fauna by exposing it to common household airborne chemicals including chloroform and benzene. When compared to a set of control plants (I’m picturing Nefarious Ficus or Beezlebub’s Begonia), their genetically modified houseplant put them all to shame, proving itself to be nearly five times more efficient.

The researchers are, “currently planning on performing additional tests to see what other chemicals the plants might be good at clearing out of the air. They are also considering testing other modified plants with different genes.”

Fascinating stuff. Should these chemical-busting houseplants ever go to market, this allergy-and-paranoia prone Angeleno will be first in line. I even know what to call it.

“The Dust Bunny.”

Please hold your applause.

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Scientists just used rabbit DNA to create a new kind of powerful, air purifying plant.