In the run up to the holidays we all start to think about preparations - food, presents, decorations, digging out that box of fairy lights from the attic to decorate the Christmas tree. But what if we could buy a real, self-illuminating (autoluminescent) tree that didn't require lights? This may seem like the stuff of films and TV, but could it actually become a reality in the not too distant future? Helen Albert addresses this and other questions about bioluminescence with US-based biochemist and entrepreneur Alexander Krichevsky, who created the first autoluminescent plant in 2010, as well as Russian chemist Ilia Yampolsky, who helped discover the chemical mechanism of bioluminescence in fungi last year.

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