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Photosynthesis: Crop Yield Will Increase Through Genetic Modification

Image: Photosynthesis: Crop Yield Will Increase Through Genetic Modification

Scientists hoping that genetically modifying plants to speed up photosynthesis recovery will boost crop yields enough to feed growing population. (Wisconsinart/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 18 Nov 2016 05:29 PM

Scientists have discovered a way to genetically modify crops so that they yield more by improving their process of photosynthesis.

According to Popular Science, the genetic modifications helped plants use the sun’s energy more efficiently and avoid the slowdown of photosynthesis that occurs when plants get more sun than their systems can handle. 

The world’s population is expected to grow to more than 9 billion by the year 2050, The Daily Mail reported, and scientists have long worried that global warming will prevent crop yields from keeping pace with population growth.

The genetically modified plants (the study used tobacco, but noted that the genes used were in all plants) grew 15 percent to 20 percent faster than their unmodified counterparts, increasing the crop yield by about 15 percent.

The study, done jointly by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Berkley, boosted proteins already found in plants to achieve the productivity gains, The Daily Mail said.

Although the photosynthesis modification has not yet been tested on plants other than tobacco, scientists said that it targets processes in the plant that are universal to all plants and should be able to be duplicated in food crops, Popular Science reported.

The genetic modifications overcome the plant’s natural process of nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ), which protects plants from too much sunlight but slows photosynthesis even after the sun has passed. The proteins modified help the plant recover faster from NPQ so that they can use photosynthesis better during the recovery period, according to Popular Science.

UCLA biochemist Sabeeha Merchant called the findings “amazing” and said that the modifications could solve “a decade or more’s worth of our need for these agricultural products,” Popular Science noted.

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Scientists have discovered a way to genetically modify crops so that they yield more by improving their process of photosynthesis.
photosynthesis crop yield
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2016-29-18
Friday, 18 Nov 2016 05:29 PM
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