In the past years, the breakthrough of incorporating an engineered gene, commonly known as genetically modified organism (GMO) to crops became successful. Recently, researchers found new way to increase yields by boosting crops photosynthesis.
Researchers from the US and UK has successfully develop a process to speed up plants photosynthesis through the use of blue green algae cyanobacteria, which according to the report, may increase yield up to 60% than the normal process.
“This is the first time that a plant has been created through genetic engineering to fix all of its carbon by a cyanobacterial enzyme,” said Cornell Professor Maureen Hanson, a co-author of the study, in the release. She added, “It is an important first step in creating plants with more efficient photosynthesis.”
Recently there was a study by the Cornell and Rothamsted researchers that successfully replaced the gene for a carbon-fixing enzyme called Rubisco in a tobacco plant with two genes for a cyanobacterial version of Rubisco, which works faster than the plant’s original enzyme.
Photosynthesis in plants involves the capture of carbon dioxide and water followed by absorbing light to generate oxygen and sugar that’s vital to producing plant tissue and energy. Unfortunately the plant’s natural enzyme responsible for carbon fixation called Rubisco (Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase), has an affinity for grabbing oxygen from the air, which inhibits and reduces the growth rate of the plant.
However, the engineered Rubisco works faster at fixing carbon, so for some time, researchers have been trying to get the genes that code for cyanobacterial Rubisco into a vascular plant in hopes that it would lead to greater plant growth. According to the study, the secret to success this time is by swapping in other genes that help manufacture the improved Rubisco.