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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth 40%

Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Today, researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions.

Scientists engineer sugarcane to produce biodiesel, more sugar for ethanol

A multi-institutional team led by the University of Illinois have proven sugarcane can be genetically engineered to produce oil in its leaves and stems for biodiesel production. Surprisingly, the modified sugarcane plants also produced more sugar, which could be used for ethanol production.

Securing tomorrow’s food supply by engaging today’s students

Securing tomorrow’s food supply by engaging today’s students

There’s a career path filled with opportunities to improve societal well-being, combat devastating illnesses, and protect the environment, yet it is one that many biology students might not have considered.  Despite increasing world awareness, its identity might be surprising: plant biology research.

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