Scientists from Wageningen University & Research have found natural genetic variation for photosynthesis in plants and are unravelling it to the DNA level. As a result it should be possible to breed crops that use photosynthesis more effectively in the future, increasing their yield and enabling them to capture more CO2 from the air in the soil. This represents a major step on the long road to solving global food challenges and realising the Paris climate agreement.
[A] team of scientists has shown that thale cress (a common model plant) has various genes involved in the adaptation to changes in the amount of light to which plants are exposed.
The discovery shows that it is possible to improve photosynthesis based on natural genetic variation, something which was doubted until now. In the long term, breeding on improved photosynthesis could make crops produce more yield with the same amount of soil, water and nutrients. This brings the concept of ‘more’ (yield) ‘with less’ (soil, water and nutrients) one step closer.
[Editor’s note: Read the full study]
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