TIME

Scientists Build a Better, Faster Bionic Plant

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veins of a leaf Mark Mawson—Getty Images

It absorbs light 30% faster than a normal plant

A team of MIT scientists have created the world’s first bionic plant.

Popular Mechanics reports that researchers threaded carbon nanotubes through the plant’s pores. The breakthrough came when the tubes were brushed with a coating of DNA, which helped them bind to delicate membranes within the leaf. Once outfitted with a mesh of microscopic tubes, the plant could absorb light 30% faster than its naturally selected brethren.

Scientists hope the plant could be used to detect explosive chemicals or poisonous gases in the air. No mention on whether it could also star in a popular television series.

[Popular Mechanics]

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