Monday, November 21, 2016
How Modified Plant is Making Better use of Sunlight
This is a ground breaking study that would benefit farmers by providing bigger yields. This can benefit civilization as a whole since the demand for more food gets higher every day due to an increasing population. It takes advantage of the fact that shadows are produced on plants either by nearby trees or the leaves themselves. When this happens, this creates a spot of darkness. Most people don't notice this spot of darkness, but it is a problem for plants. The problem is that it takes a while for plants to go from the dark stage back to photosynthesis. So scientists found a way to speed up the process. They grabbed DNA from a mustard plant (mustard Arabidopsis thaliana) and inserted it into the tobacco plant. The inserted DNA produced proteins that help speed up the transition from the dark stage to photosynthesis. It reduces the limits on plant photosynthesis and bypasses millions of years of evolution.
Tobacco was the first plant that this was successfully done to but scientists are looking to do this to multiple plants. The one thing that is a concern is that, yes the tobacco plant weighed 14-20% more than the unmodified tobacco plants but does that mean that if the transfer of protein modification was done to another plant, would it just increase in weigh because of bigger stems, roots and leaves or will the crop itself yield bigger product? That question right now cannot be answered but according to the theory of the tobacco plant experiment it should be possible.