April 2015 - Revolution Bioengineering
24 Apr

Time to Grow

We didn't make the crowdfunding goal, but we're till growing
We didn't make the crowdfunding goal, but we're till growing

We didn’t make the crowdfunding goal, but we’re till growing

Hi everyone,

The campaign is over and we’ve raised an incredible $21,000! Every single one of you made a huge impact in this campaign – tweets, posts, articles, and most importantly contributions. Thank you so much for getting us this far.

People love the idea of beautiful biotechnology. Our artist partners have shared that museums and gardens are lining up to take part in the color changing flower art installation. We also have several scientists who will be sharing expertise and lab space to develop this flower over the next year.

We may have missed our mark on the crowdfunding campaign, but beautiful biology will continue on. We hope you will follow along with us for the next phase of Revolution Bio.

Keira & Nikolai
The RevBio Team

03 Apr

21 more days of color changing flowers!

Flowers, finally!

Flowers, finally!

Crocus are popping up, daffodils are everywhere, and gardeners are venturing out to look at their plots. It’s time to start thinking about which annuals you’re going to plant!

We’ve extended our crowdfunding campaign til Apr 23 to make sure everyone has a chance to pre-order the color changing petunia. And, we’ve updated the crowdfunding site with some new images and descriptions of the prizes. Check it out and go get your flower!

02 Apr

From color-changing flowers to deer-resistant tulips

Spring is here! Your tulips might just be poking out of the ground – or they might have already been eaten by deer.

But what if you could buy deer-resistant tulips?

Deer eating tulipsRevolution Bioengineering would love to make that happen. They are plant scientists, they have a passion for flowers and have enough ideas to fill a whole new garden. However, tulips can take five to seven years to mature, and that’s a long time to develop a product for a new company. So instead they’ve picked a quicker project: Color changing flowers.

In collaboration with scientists in the Netherlands and New York, RevBio is bringing petunias that change color to the garden in 2017. Their first flower goes from white to red when you share a beer with it – think of it as drinking buddy!

Our team is looking to the garden community to get these flowers into the ground with an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. You can pre-order your color-changing flower and jumpstart development of other varieties like their next design, a petunia that goes from pink to blue and back again, using the plant’s internal clock to change colors every 12 hours.

color change flowersThat’s only the beginning for RevBio. CEO Keira Havens shares “Plants have incredible networks that they use to navigate their changing environment. We can work with these designs to breed all sorts of amazing flowers with new colors, scents, and patterns.” COO Nikolai Braun adds “In addition to aesthetics, we’d like to develop plants that use their resources more efficiently, and perform more robustly in the garden. I’m from Colorado and every year it snows in the middle of May – I’d love to be able to plant annuals in April and have them survive that last storm.”

02 Apr

Happy April!


Geemo can't detect other GMOs - just itself

Geemo can’t detect other GMOs – just itself

Hope you had a great April 1!  It seems like the world is back to normal now, but if you’re like me you probably spend a little too much time playing Google maps Pacman and wishing that Tesla’s parking ticket avoiding cars were available for sale.

Our April Fools joke, Geemo the GMO detector, got some interesting attention too. To come up with Geemo, we just looked at our color-changing flower in a new way: it’s engineered to turn purple. Therefore, when it turns purple, you know there’s a GMO around… Geemo!

We got the idea when a woman at SxSW suggested that we bioengineer a GMO detector.  The conversation started out pleasant, but once she learned that we were doing GMO work, her whole mood changed, she became visibly uncomfortable, and she made a comment as she walked away along the lines that “we need to create a plant that can detect GMOs and will turn a putrid brown when it encounters one.” That gave us a chuckle– A GMO plant that can detect GMOs.  Delightfully absurd for an April fools prank.

It turns out that a lot of people are interested in a GMO detector. People want information, and they want to understand how technology impacts them. We hope we’ve been able to do this at RevBio by communicating clearly and starting conversations – Geemo or not, our color changing flower is a pretty cool innovation.


01 Apr

Meet Geemo, the GMO Detector!

This little flower turns red in the presence of GMOs

This little flower turns red in the presence of GMOs

Find out if there are GMOs in your home with Geemo!

There is increasing concern about GMO safety in our post-agrobacterium world. Recognizing the need for increased consumer empowerment on this issue as well as an unmet need for more GMO transparency, researchers at Revolution Bioengineering are developing ‘Geemo’, a simple, easy to use, plant-based GMO detector that can detect the GMOs in your house.

Geemo is a white petunia that looks just like the petunias your grandma grows, but it contains a secret GMO detection system. Dr. Nikolai Braun, Revolution’s lead scientist described the way the system works to us: “All you need to do is pour a little beer into the petunia to activate the system. If there is a GMO nearby, the flowers will turn red.”

The petunia remains purple for five days allowing the user ample time to identify the source of the GMO. The simple yet effective detection system relies on anthocyanin production of the petunia—the same naturally occurring pigment molecules that color all petunias.

There already are some PCR-based detection kits available for GMOs, however these require specialized laboratory equipment that the average household doesn’t have. CEO Keira Havens shared that “Right now, there is a lot of fear and confusion about what GMOs are and where they can be found, and people want to know how they can distinguish between GMO and non-GMO products. Home detection kits are the way to inform and educate people.”

Learn more here.