Study shows how plants evolve for faster growth

phys.org | 12/20/2018 | Staff
aniki (Posted by) Level 3
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Scientists at the University of Sheffield have taken a step forward in understanding how evolution has changed the photosynthesis process in wild plants to help them grow more rapidly.

The development could one day be used to improve crop yields to help in the global fight for food security.

Study - Ecology - Letters - Researchers - University

In a groundbreaking new study published in Ecology Letters, researchers from the University's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences have shown how it could be possible to harness the C4 photosynthesis process.

Photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide from the air and converts it into new plant growth. While most pants use C3 photosynthesis, plants in hot climates have evolved C4 photosynthesis to concentrate carbon dioxide within their leaves to boost plant productivity.

Marjorie - Lundgren - PhD - Student - University

Marjorie Lundgren, a Ph.D. student from the University, studied a unique African grass species that uses a diversity of C4, C3 and C3-C4 photosynthetic types.

She said: "We needed to understand how C4 photosynthesis evolves in nature from the ancestral form of C3 photosynthesis, which lacks the carbon dioxide-concentrating pump.

Pump - C4 - Arrangement

"For the pump to work, C4 leaves need a special anatomical arrangement, but we still know very little about how this develops and evolves."

Dr. Lundgren travelled to South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Australia to collect plant material for her research and collaborated with local botanists.

Study - Features - Leaves

The study looked to recognise the features of the leaves, which differ consistently...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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