Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modiied pothos
ivy - a common houseplant - to help clean the air inside homes. Hazardous
compounds such as chloroform and benzene build up in homes, and exposure to
both compounds have been linked to cancer.
The modified photos ivy removes chloroform and benzene from the air around
it. The plants express a protein called cytochrome P450 2E1, or 2E1, that
transforms these compounds into molecules that the plants can then use to
support their own growth. The researchers made a synthetic version of the
gene that gives instructions in making the rabbit form of 2E1. They
introduced it into pothos ivy so that each cell in the plant expressed the
protein. Pothos ivy doesn't flower in temperate climates so the GM plants
will not spread via pollen.