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Advances in Carbon Fixation May Hold Key to Better Crop Yields

Plant growth depends on the intake and processing of carbon dioxide, and few are more efficient at that process than algae. Much of that is thanks to an organelle called the pyrenoid, which aggregates CO2 in a manner that most plants are not capable of, removing a major bottleneck in the production of more cellular material. While the outcome has previously been established, a computer model recently published by a research team including Niall Mangan has taken that understanding further, shedding light on additional components of the pyrenoid while mapping their interactions at a systemic level. This new understanding of the structure and components necessary for the operation of the organelle provides the first guide for the genetic engineering of similar bodies into other plants, including food crops. In the face of shifting and diminishing agricultural land in the wake of continued climate change, increases in the rate of crop growth could hold the key to maintaining the global food supply in the future. Learn more here.
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