School of
Integrative Biology

SIB News

Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth by 40 percent

Scientists Don Ort (left), Paul South (center) and Amanda Cavanagh (right) study how well their plants modified to bypass photorespiration perform beside unmodified plants in real-world conditions. They found that plants engineered with a synthetic shortcut are about 40 percent more productive

Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Today, researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions.

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Publication Date: 01/16/2019
Photo credits: Claire Benjamin
Editor: Claire Benjamin