Crop Biotech Update

Experts to Use CRISPR for Carbon Capture with Crops

June 15, 2022

The Innovative Genomics Institute, founded by CRISPR co-inventor Jennifer Doudna, launched a research program that will use gene editing on crops to make them capture more carbon and help slow down climate change.

Carbon capture is often associated with trees because of the long lifetimes that allow them to lock away carbon for long periods of time. However, crops grow faster, which gives researchers the chance to hasten the testing process. With more plants being able to vacuum up the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on a large scale, this will help reduce peak temperatures.

The researchers aim to tweak photosynthesis to make plants grow faster. By modifying the enzymes involved in this process, the researchers could reduce energy-sapping side reactions, including some that involve carbon dioxide release. They also aim to improve root systems, which can help store more carbon in the soil. The initial research will focus on rice.

“This is not easy, but we're embracing the complexity,” said Brad Ringeisen, Executive Director of IGI. He also hopes that when it comes to climate change, “plants and microbes and agriculture can actually be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.”

Get more details from MIT Technology Review.

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