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Surprising Science

Helping Plants Help Themselves

“Many vital crops capture the sun’s energy in a surprisingly inefficient way. A borrowed trick or two could make them far more productive.” The New Scientist on improving photosynthesis.

“Improving photosynthesis itself could dramatically boost yields. The idea might sound like hubris, but there is no doubt it can be done—because some plants have already achieved it. Many have evolved the same workaround for the most serious glitch in photosynthesis, and researchers are now trying to copy that advance in wheat and rice. And some smaller improvements have already been made in the lab. Surprisingly, one approach might be to reduce levels of the molecule that captures light energy from the sun.”


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