Photosynthesis – the process by which plants converted sunlight into energy for growth and produce oxygen – is arguably the most important biological process on earth. The holy grail of plant science has long been to bioengineer the photosynthetic pathways in plants to grow larger, more productive crops that are better adapted to climate change and boost food security.
We didn’t realise just how cool the chloroplast is – not only does it orchestrate photosynthesis, one of the most important phenomena sustaining life on earth, but it may play a significant role in how we feed the world sustainability.
A review in Genome Biology – ‘Chloroplast genomes: diversity, evolution and applications in genetic engineering‘ – details what we know about the chloroplast genome, how it can be used and how it can be modified, before launching into examples of why chloroplast engineering is likely to have a significant involvement in future crop engineering and in the production of pharmaceuticals and industrial materials.
The Chloroplast Genome
Our increasing knowledge of the chloroplast genome has been greatly assisted in the last decade or so by the advance in genome sequencing. Currently, the Illumina next-generation sequencing process coupled with bioinformatics tools has enabled the de-novo construction of most of the…
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