Scientists produce faster-growing crops by improving photosynthesis

Scientists have improved the photosynthesis process in the plants to produce faster-growing crops. The breakthrough was published in the journal Science.

They had used genetic modification technology to improve photosynthesis in the plants. This modification increased amount of sunlight energy crop plants can channel into food production.

Significance

The breakthrough has increased the yield in the experimental crop by 15 per cent. This is seen as a critical step towards increasing crop production to feed a growing global population.

What is Photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is a chemical process through which plants produce glucose and oxygen from carbon dioxide and photosynthesis
water, in presence of the light as a source of energy. Some bacteria and algae also produce their own food using photosynthesis. The photosynthesis process is extremely important for plants to carry out essential growth and other life processes. It is also important for life on earth as it provides the oxygen that all other life depends on.

How research was conducted?

  • Scientists had targeted plant’s natural Sun-protection mechanism. This mechanism evolved in plants along with its ability to produce food using sunlight energy.
  • The Sun-protection mechanism evolved in plants to protect them from Sun damage by slowing down the photosynthesis by losing the excess heat.
  • Scientists inserted extra copies of the genes responsible for this heat-loss switch in the plants to remove inefficiencies in crops resulting in loss of the excess heat.
  • This gene stopped heat-loss switch and stopped the heat loss and used excess heat for enhancing photosynthesis.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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