A team of MIT researchers has found a way to grow wood in the lab, avoiding having to cut down a tree.
The research team extracted cells from the leaves of a flowering plant called the common zinnia (Zinnia elegans). The cells were then embedded in liquid for a few days and then characterized in a gel-based medium enriched with nutrients and hormones.
It was then that these cells, resembling stem cells, began to reproduce and create new plant cells.
The discovery doesn’t stop there because by changing the amount of gel, the physical and mechanical properties of these new cells can be manipulated. In other words, scientists can create wood of any shape and any size.