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 27, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 27, 2018
Unraveling the Secret Behind the Strength of Spider Web
You don't need to watch a Spider-Man movie to notice how tough a spider web can be. Made of fiber-based spider silk, the seemingly fragile structure ca...
DEC 05, 2018
Cancer
DEC 05, 2018
Zika virus as a weapon against brain cancer
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of Brain Cancer with an average survival rate of less than two years with treatment. So what if there could be a cure for this type of cancer....
DEC 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 05, 2018
Stretchable Ultrathin Electronic Skin Produced from a Desktop Printer
Electronic tattoos or e-tattoos are flexible polymer patches that can sense and transmit electrical signals. e-tattoos have great potential in advancing medical prosthetics and human-machine...
DEC 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 05, 2018
SpaceX Launches International Space Station Resupply Mission
On Wednesday, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX launched its 20th rocket of 2018 to send a fresh batch of supplies to the International Space Station. The rocket blas...
DEC 08, 2018
Videos
DEC 08, 2018
Repairing Broken Bones With 3D-Printed Scaffolds
Titanium implants and bone grafts can be painful. Researchers are creating a better way to fix damaged bones....
DEC 11, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 11, 2018
What is a Zombee?
You may or may not have heard of a zombee, which is essentially a zombified bee. Zombees are bees that have been infected by the phorid fly (Apocephalus bo...
Loading Comments...