NOV 27, 2016 01:18 PM PST

New Genetic Modification may Improve Crop Yield

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Plants use sunlight in photosynthesis, but they also have a sort of sunscreen, a shield to protect themselves from sun overexposure. That mechanism, called nonphtochemical quenching (NPQ), turns photons from really bright sunlight into harmless heat. That system is reversible, but can take a long time to turn off and because of that, photosynthesis is sometimes not working when it should.

Biologists have now successfully used genetic modification to enable plants to make that adjustment more quickly, which will hopefully lead to more productive crops. In fact, a study published in the journal Science demonstrated up to a twenty percent increase in plant biomass when using this technique on tobacco plants.

This method can now be tested in plants used for consumption, to see if food crop yield increases. To this point, genetic modification hasn't done much to increase food production in plants, a common critique. Another advantage of this new method is that it is possible to use it without mixing genes from different species, which may ease regulatory hurdles in potential applications.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 17, 2019
Younger Wolves Help Their Elders Grab a Bite to Eat
Wolves work together in the wild to ensure the survival of the rest of their pack, and this includes their elders. Whenever one wolf finds food, it will in...
NOV 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 17, 2019
These Animals Give Birth to the Largest Babies in the World
Moms everywhere will tell you all about the excruciating labor pains that come along with delivering a baby, but in the animal kingdom, many newborns are s...
NOV 17, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 17, 2019
Why a Metal Asteroid Tops NASA's Must-Explore List
Innumerable amounts of asteroids exist in the asteroid belt that resides between Mars and Jupiter in orbit around the Sun, but one specimen in particular a...
NOV 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 17, 2019
How a Venus Flytrap Works
Most people think of plants as being at the bottom of the food chain, but the Venus Flytrap defies this oversimplified way of thinking by devouring meat. W...
NOV 17, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 17, 2019
Outlandish Ideas to Fight Climate Change: How Credible are They?
Boosting investment in renewable energy and reducing the use of fossil fuel are the two commonly acceptable measures to combat climate change. However, sci...
NOV 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 17, 2019
Triggerfish Are Lobsters' Worst Enemies
Lobsters, just like many other animals, follow migration patterns. They are often observed traveling in large packs, marching in straight lines across the...
Loading Comments...