Monday, May 26, 2008

Gene From Algae Could Help Crops Cope With Climate Change

Researchers at the ANU in Canberra have isolated genes in algae which could be integrated into cereal plants within the next 10 years. These genes, according to Professor Murray Badger, would help the plants conserve water and deal with higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. They do this by impoving the efficiency of photosynthesis in high temperature and CO2 environments.

The research has provoked some interest, particularly in rice dependant countries. The International Rice Reasearch Institute in the Phillipines is interested in the technology, in the context of integrating maize genes into rice, but for the present, this scale of genetic engineering remains unfeasable.

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