Turns out that the tiny aquatic fern called Azolla that millions of years ago helped cool the Earth so we could inhabit it has the potential of transforming the way we fertilize and grow food and fuel our homes, devices, businesses and vehicles. Scientists say Azolla holds the world record for speed of biomass production, meaning it can help grow plants or produce fuel in a cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly way than any other method used today.
A Duke University research team is trying to unlock this powerful plant's potential by sequencing its genome. To fund the project, the researchers have launched a campaign on the scientific research crowdfunding site, Experiment. The team already surpassed its initial $20,000 goal, won coverage last week in The Economist and yesterday, announced a new partnership with the prestigious Beijing Genomics Institute. Researchers there have pledged to help the Duke team complete the job.
The video explains it all, and is bound to get you excited about this mysterious plant that just might power our future: