Blood Tree





Blood Tree

May 2013
The Blood Tree project proposes to genetically engineer the tree, then the function of red blood cell bioreactor changes the system of tree stem cell, allowing trees to produce artificial human blood.

A hospital lack of blood resource in massive accidental disaster would cost falure in emergency help. What if trees – one of the most sustainable, stable, constantly growing organisms – could produce human blood?
The Blood Tree project proposes to genetically engineer the tree, then the function of red blood cell bioreactor changes the system of tree stem cell, allowing trees to produce artificial human blood. This project proposes a possible future in medical area – in particular the semi-living medical devices supply human fluids and parts, and trigger people’s thoughts towards the definition of animal and botany.

Research: Artificial blood production could save people’s lives. 2013, the Chemical Engineering & Haematology, Imperial College London and National Blood Service have found a way to successfully make blood, and towards the large-scale production of human cell. With the bone marrow cell from rat, bio- reactor volume to produce red blood cell.

Function & Interaction:
With the bone marrow starting to grow inside the tree trunk, tissues analogous to ‘animal flesh and muscle’ replace the wood structure, transport the artificial blood with plant juice to the whole tree. The flowing artificial blood maintains the life of tree, being stored inside and ready to be taken out whenever needed.
The blood is extracted through catheters inserted into the trunk, with needles to bring it out of bark surface. The extractor functions as the interface for artificial blood drawing, connects filters which is used in keeping the blood disinfected and hygienic.

Thoughts & Question:
When the tree becomes able to produce blood, wood structure turns into flesh, is it still a sort of plants, or boundary between animal and botany is blurred by doing so? Would people have it as the alternative to food instead of domes- tic animal meat, after the wide spreading of infectious such as mad-cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease and swine influenza? Could vegetarians accept it when it comes to the ethical issue?
As science and technology advanced, medicine became more reliant upon medications. Throughout the history, not only plant products have been used as medicine, but also animal and human body parts and fluids. For example, bear bile is extracting inhuman industrially, which is coveted for its medicinal properties. The similar function of extract- ing blood of tree would lead to same critical ethical problem, or might become a possible substitute of animal parts medication?

Outcomes & Developing Plan:
It need the help from the host, to have further solid and concrete medical and biology science support to make this project more realistic convincing and function in suspension-of-disbelieve way. The outcome would be ideally object (specimen of blood tree); illustration(reveal the structure of the blood tree); film(scenario and context show how the blood tree functions and interact with people).

 


 

MEDICINAL BOTANY

May 2013. work-in-progress
Projects:   Blood Tree  |  Pregnancy Petal  |  Plant Parasites