As with any genetically modified organisms, keeping the iGarden plants safely contained is of the utmost importance. We developed a ‘fence’ system which ensures that all the plants stay inside the iGarden, preventing the spread of modified plants beyond where they are wanted.

The genetic fence operates by positive containment, meaning that the gardener chooses a fenced area in which the plants can grow, and outside of which they cannot. This ensures that any accidental spillage of iGarden seeds will not result in unwanted plant growth or spread of the modified genes.

Gardners will activate the fence by mixing a ‘fence compound’ into the water used for the garden during the first few weeks after planting. The fence compound, a small molecule, is very safe for people, animals and the environment. The current version of the genetic fence requires frequent application of the fence compound throughout the life of the plant.

Further engineering of the genetic fence (design 2.0) will only require application of the fence compound during germination. Once the plants have established themselves, the garden could be watered without the fence compound.