14 August 2002 Genetically modified plants for law enforcement applications
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Abstract
Plants are ubiquitous in the environment and have the unique ability to respond to their environment physiologically and through altered gene expression profiles (they cannot walk away). In addition, plant genetic transformation techniques and genomic information in plants are becoming increasingly advanced. We have been performing research to express the jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP) in plants. GFP emits green light when excited by blue or UV light. In addition, my group and collaborators have developed methods to detect GFP in plants by contact instruments and at a standoff. There are several law enforcement applications for this technology. One involves using tagging and perhaps modifying drug plants genetically. In one instance, we could tag them for destruction. In another, we could adulterate them directly. Another application is one that falls into the chemical terrorism and bioterrorism countermeasures category. We are developing plants to sense toxins and whole organisms covertly. Plants are well adapted to monitor large geographic areas; biosurveillance. Some examples of research being performed focus on plants with plant pathogen inducible promoters fused to GFP for disease sensing, and algae biosensors for chemicals.
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C. Neal Stewart, "Genetically modified plants for law enforcement applications", Proc. SPIE 4708, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Defense and Law Enforcement, (14 August 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.479313; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.479313
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