New GMO corn variety significantly increases yields by boosting photosynthesis

The biotech firm Benson Hill Biosystems and the seed company Beck’s say their six-year-old partnership has yielded a trait that increases the efficiency of photosynthesis in hybrid corn.

The trait, a result of traditional genetic modification with noncorn DNA, has been tested in field trials for three years, the partners say. The trials show it significantly increases yields in a range of environments and in different corn hybrids.

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“There has not been nearly the development dollars and research effort in traits around nondefensive traits compared to those for, say, insect resistance,” [Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp] says. “There are a lot of targets that have not received attention: photosynthesis, sustainability, and nutrition. It’s a ripe area of opportunity to innovate.”

Crisp won’t disclose the organism that is the source of the hopped-up photosynthetic ability. But he says it makes the corn plant more efficient at fixing carbon from atmospheric CO2 and turning it into sugar. The ability results in a mid-single-digit or higher percentage increase in yield, partly because each cob contains more kernels.

Read full, original post: Seed partners unveil photosynthesis trait

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