Scientists Engineer Shortcut for Photosynthetic Glitch, Boosting Crop Growth by 40%January 9, 2019
Photosynthesis uses the enzyme Rubisco and sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugars essential for plant growth and yield. Over millennia, Rubisco has created an oxygen-rich atmosphere, using oxygen instead of carbon dioxide about 20 percent of the time, resulting in a plant-toxic compound that must be recycled through the process of photorespiration.
"Photorespiration is anti-photosynthesis," said lead author Paul South, a research molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service, who works on the project Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) in Illinois. "It costs the plant precious energy and resources that it could have invested in photosynthesis to produce more growth and yield."
Photorespiration normally takes a complicated route through three compartments in the plant cell. Scientists engineered alternate pathways to reroute the process, drastically shortening the trip and saving enough resources to boost plant growth by 40 percent. This is the first time that an engineered photorespiration fix has been tested in real-world agronomic conditions.
The researchers engineered three alternate routes to replace the circuitous native pathway. To optimize the new routes, they designed genetic constructs with different sets of promoters and genes, essentially creating a suite of unique roadmaps. They stress tested these roadmaps in 1,700 plants to identify the top performers. Over two years of replicated field studies, the researchers found that these engineered plants developed faster, grew taller, and produced about 40 percent more biomass, most of which was found in 50-percent-larger stems. The team tested their hypotheses in tobacco and is now translating their findings to boost the yield of soybean, cowpea, rice, potato, tomato, and eggplant.
For more details, read the news article from the University of Illinois.
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- 2020 Proclaimed International Year of Plant Health by UN General Assembly
- Forecast: Global Agri-biotech Market Size to Grow Significantly in the Next 4 Years
- Scientists Engineer Shortcut for Photosynthetic Glitch, Boosting Crop Growth by 40%
- USDA: No GMOs Detected, No Labeling
- Adoption of Biotech Crops Crucial in Pakistan
- SEARCA BIC Releases Policy Briefs on GM Crops
- Chinese Agri Ministry Approves Import of 5 GM Crops
- ISAAA Announces New SEAsiaCenter Director
- Structure and Function of Photosynthesis Protein Explained in Detail
- GM Potato Shows Improved Colorado Potato Beetle Resistance
- Bt Maize Expressing a Fusion Gene Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac Does Not Harm Pollen Feeders
Plant Breeding Innovations
- CRISPR-Cas9 Used to Modify Seed Morphology Traits in Wheat
- Scientists Characterize CRISPR Mutants Targeting Genes Modulating Pectin Degradation in Ripening Tomato
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Researchers Develop GM Houseplants to Clean Air
- Trending News on Crop Biotech in 2018
Subscribe to CBU: