From Science Daily.
The world is becoming overpopulated and climate change will lead to mass famine, if not for science riding to the rescue. Much like the greatest human being ever and his green revolution, the research of On Sun Lau, Xi Huang, Jae-Hoon Lee, Gang Li and Jean-Benoit Charron has set the stage for what may be the next great leap of agriculture needed to feed the ever-growing human species.
“Farmers are limited by the seasons, but by understanding the circadian rhythm of plants, which controls basic functions such as photosynthesis and flowering, we might be able to engineer plants that can grow in different seasons and places than is currently possible,” said Xing Wang Deng, the Daniel C. Eaton Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale and senior author of the paper.
The trick they discovered involves the interaction between two types of genes, one which produces proteins during the day to repress the expression (if I am using that term correctly) of the night time events in the circadian cycle. Further research in this area could one day lead to high yield crops that could modified to thrive in areas of reduced or extended daylight outside the natural range of the species or have faster yield times.
Though students of Yale, I will note the nationality of the authors, while their work will aide all of humanity, it is sad for me to see how the U.S. continues to fall behind in fields where we once dominated. A continual reminder of the poor state of our education system and the science-phobia which pervades my culture, I should really learn to speak Chinese before too long but that’s a whole different rant for another day.
The team’s research appears in the Sept. 2 issue of the journal Molecular Cell.