Thanks to June Medford, genetically altered plants that change colors when in the proximity of certain types of pollution, explosives, or other substances may soon be on the lookout for radon pollution in home basements or explosives in public areas like schools.

Armed with a DARPA grant, Professor June Medford in the Department of Biology and her team at Colorado State University’s Medford Lab are working on the project to genetically engineer plants that detect pollution then signal the discovery with changes to their foliage. The researchers expect to have viable plant sentries within the next four years.