chloroplasts in humans?

john markwell markwell at
Sun Feb 26 08:57:20 EST 1995

Another issue concerning introducing chloroplasts into animal cells is
that the energy in light is not trivial.  The photosynthetic apparatus
is highly efficient at harvesting sunlight.  Each quantum captured, 
however, must be handled with the greatest care and respect.  The 
potential for photodynamic damage is very great.  When things go wrong
in a leaf, they go very wrong!  The technical term is necrosis.  There
are some monocot mutants (tigrina) which cannot control the production
of photosynthetic pigments and produce leaves with alternating bands 
of green and necrotic tissue.

Putting leaf pigments into a cell is not unlike putting a nuclear 
reactor into your cellar.  As long as things go well, they go very 
well.  However . ..

John Markwell			Phone: 402-472-2924
Dept. Biochemistry		FAX:   402-472-7842
University of Nebraska		Internet: markwell at
Lincoln, NE  68583-0718

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