Add a liver enzyme to an ivy to purify the air in buildings

Source:  The Economist

The air in modern homes and offices is pretty clean, but not as clean as it might be. Often, it contains small amounts of volatile, toxic, organic compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, butadiene, carbon tetrachloride, naphthalene and chloroform. Chronic exposure to these is a bad thing, so clearing them out of the air people breathe is widely accepted as worthwhile. Finding an effective way to do so has proved difficult. But Stuart Strand, Long Zhang and Ryan Routsong, of the University of Washington, in Seattle, think they have succeeded. As they report in Environmental Science and Technology, their method involves splicing a gene from a rabbit into a popular indoor plant nicknamed Devil’s vine—a type of ivy that is so called because it is famously difficult to kill.

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