NOV 27, 2016 01:18 PM PST

New Genetic Modification may Improve Crop Yield

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
1 7 309

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
JUL 07, 2018
Videos
JUL 07, 2018
Can Sending Plants to Space Reveal a Cancer Treatment?
When plants are grown in a totally different environment, it may stimulate new effects.
JUL 15, 2018
Videos
JUL 15, 2018
Meet the Rare Binary Asteroid Recently Confirmed by NASA
Astronomers first became aware of an asteroid called YE5 in December of 2017, but something seemed odd about it after they were unable to discern its physi
JUL 18, 2018
Videos
JUL 18, 2018
What Does it Take to Burst a Stomach?
People often say they feel like they feel like they’re going to burst after consuming a large meal, but is it really possible for your stomach to bur
JUL 28, 2018
Videos
JUL 28, 2018
23andMe Announces Partnership with Drug Company GSK
The collaboration aims to improve personalized therapeutics.
AUG 05, 2018
Videos
AUG 05, 2018
Watch a Bird Take Flight in Super-Slow Motion
Many of us watch birds take off into flight right before our eyes every day, but it happens so quickly that we don’t get a chance to observe the mech
AUG 13, 2018
Videos
AUG 13, 2018
Is Earth Running Out of Helium?
If current global demand continues, we can face a shortage of helium within the next 40 years. Helium is the second most common element after hydrogen
Loading Comments...