Scientists Shut off Plant's Sunshield to Boost ProductivityNovember 23, 2016
An international team of scientists successfully boosted the productivity of plants by altering mechanisms involved in photosynthesis. The result of their proof-of-concept study is published in the journal Science.
The scientists targeted three genes in tobacco plants which are involved in sunshield. These genes are responsible in protecting the plant from bright sunlight by converting photons into harmless heat. However, the plant reacts slowly to changing light intensity, causing losses in productivity. To improve photosynthesis, the researchers increased the expressions of the three genes, leading to 14 to 20% increase in productivity of modified tobacco plants in field conditions. This is a giant leap since plant breeders find it hard to achieve 1 to 2% gains through conventional techniques.
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