NEWS COMMENTARY

Synthetic biology improves efficiency of photosynthesis and increases biomass production by C3 plants

Published:
January 4, 2019
Coverage:
Emerging Ecosystems in Agrifood and Health More...
Activities:
Research
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by Joshua Haslun
Very important

A new study published in Science reports 40% increased biomass production in a higher photosynthetic efficiency (PE) transgenic tobacco trial. The plants, developed at the University of Illinois, were engineered with one of three alternative metabolic pathways targeting energy loss associated with photorespiration. Plants engineered with plant malate synthase and a green algal glycolate dehydrogenase, along with an RNAi knockout of the native mechanism, displayed the most pronounced increase in productivity. The conserved nature of photorespiration among C3 plants makes the result promising for improved grain crop yields, especially in warmer climates. Develop or expect development of improved PE traits and their inclusion in gene stacks.

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