Genetically modified plants could become the next generation of military spies. The research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense has directed her researchers to improve the country’s spying capabilities with genetically engineered plant-based sensors.

The PENTAGON announced a new project aimed at developing genetically modified plants capable of surveillance. These biotech spies would detect and collect relevant data concerning potential threats. The project, called the Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) program, will explore the possibility of using plants as effective surveillance equipment.

Plant sensors developed under the APT Program are expected to detect a number of chemical and environmental stimuli. These information will be relayed via signals that can be interpreted using existing hardware platforms. Researchers are encouraged to come up with their own ideas concerning different aspects of the project.


Timely and accurate information is at the heart of successful military operation. (Credit: DARPA)

Genetically modified plants are uniquely positioned for certain types of information gathering. Furthermore, this will limit the risks of exposing personnel to potentially harmful environments. In the long run, this technology could also find commercially viable non-military applications.

Links: DARPA



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