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Crop Biotech Update

GE Plants with Algae Genes Could Improve Crop Yields

August 30, 2017

Scientists harness the unique mechanisms of other organisms such as algae to improve the yield of crop plants. In a review article written by Luke Mackinder of the University of York, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is presented as a prospective source of genes that could help improve the photosynthetic performance of crop plants. The review article is published in the New Phytologist.

According to the review, Chlamydomonas CCM (CO2 concentrating mechanism) elevates the CO2 around Rubisco, thus improving photosynthesis. The evolutionary similarities between the algae and higher plant chloroplasts indicate that no or very few protein changes may be needed to ensure the correct localization and function of Chlamydomonas CCM components in C3 plants. The author recommends conduct of modelling studies to guide the step-wise transfer of Chlamydomonas CCM components to higher plants.

Read the review article in New Phytologist.