Plants are the original carbon capture factories‚??and a new research
program aims to make them better ones by using gene editing.
TheInnovative Genomics Institute [innovativegenomics.org
a research group in Berkeley, California, founded by CRISPR
has announced a new program to use the revolutionary gene-editing tool
on plants to boost their aptitude for carbon storage. The initial
program will last three years and is funded by an $11 million grant from
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan'sfoundation
The research is part of a growing effort by scientists to find ways to
vacuum up the carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere in order to slow
climate change. Upping the natural abilities of plants to take up carbon
dioxide could, if done on a large enough scale, help push down peak
temperatures in a warming world.
While many people associate carbon capture with trees, the IGI research
is focusing on agricultural crops. The decision is mainly a matter of
timing, says Brad Ringeisen, executive director of IGI. Trees may have
long lifetimes that allow them to lock away carbon for decades or even
centuries, but most crops grow faster, allowing researchers to speed up
the testing process.