For this week, I chose a topic surrounding photosynthesis. Scientists are trying to improve photosynthesis in certain crops, so that they will be able to adapt to rapid climate change, and more crop yield. Maureen Hanson, a professor at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Myat Lin, a postdoctoral research associate in Hanson’s lab created a technique to predict gene sequences that make Rubisco. Rubisco is an enzyme that is involved in the first major step of carbon fixation, (Yoshikawa, 2013). This technique allows scientists to identify candidate enzymes that could be doctored into modern crops. This would make photosynthesis more efficient, and even produce a larger crop yield, (Ramanujan, 2022). These researchers predicted Rubisco genes from 20-30 million years ago, when the carbon dioxide levels were much higher, and the Rubisco levels in plants were adapted to that. Their main plant they are choosing to experiment with currently is tobacco. Their next plan of action is to, “replace the genes for the existing Rubisco enzyme (Links to an external site.) in tobacco with these ancestral sequences using CRISPR [gene-editing] technology,” says Maureen Hanson. Their hope is to improve the crop yields in plants such as tomatoes, soybeans, rice, and possibly more.


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