Scientists say changes for agriculture could be in store,
now that they’ve come up with a detailed map of how plants react to light. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach
Scientists say changes for agriculture could be in store, now that they’ve come up with a detailed
map of how plants react to light. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Researchers have been trying for decades to get extensive details on how plants use light to
develop. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with a blueprint of
how light tells a plant to germinate, grow and flower.
Plant geneticist Richard Vierstra says corn could be dramatically changed if light-sensitive
molecules called phytocromes can be re-engineered and introduced.
“If we could minimize how phytocromes work …in a cornfield, we could minimize them trying to
compete with each other for light, and so that they would hopefully expend more energy making seeds
rather than making stalks and taller plants which eventually fall over.”
Vierstra says more testing is needed before the photochemical properties of the plant molecules
can be changed. But he says the new map will tell scientists exactly what to do. The research
was published in a recent issue of the journal Nature.
For the GLRC, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.