Should we upgrade photosynthesis and grow supercrops?

This is the title of an online opinion column by Michael LePage which was published in the October 4, 2014 issue of New Scientist magazine under the title “Turbocharge our plants”.1

This opinion column deserves your attention, if you are, as I was, unaware of this approaching advance in the genetic modification of plants. This topic is both interesting and alarming.

In the column, Michael LePage summarizes the background to the issue. Plant scientist will soon be able to equip food plants, or other plants, with the ability to produce and utilize improved versions of a critical photosynthesis enzyme called RuBisCo,2 derived from the more evolved photosynthetic apparatus of free-living organisms.

The alarming aspect of this advance is, what unpredictable and far-reaching changes the spread of this improved photosynthesis in plants might have to life on earth.


  1. New Scientist, Michael LePage, Should we upgrade photosynthesis and grow supercrops?