From: Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Published May 3, 2017 02:29 PM

Modified soybeans yield more in future climate conditions

By 2050, we will need to feed 2 billion more people on less land. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide levels are predicted to hit 600 parts per million—a 50% increase over today’s levels—and 2050 temperatures are expected to frequently match the top 5% hottest days from 1950-1979. In a three-year field study, researchers proved engineered soybeans yield more than conventional soybeans in 2050’s predicted climatic conditions.

“Our climate system and atmosphere are not changing in isolation from other factors—there are actually multiple facets,” said USDA/ARS scientist Carl Bernacchi, an associate professor of plant biology at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois. “The effect of carbon dioxide in and of itself seems to be very generalized, but neglects the complexity of adding temperature into the mix. This research is one step in the right direction towards trying to figure out a way of mitigating those temperature-related yield losses that will likely occur even with rising carbon dioxide concentrations.”

Published in the Journal of Experimental Botany, this study found the modified crop yielded more when subjected to both increased temperature and carbon dioxide levels; however, they found little to no difference between the modified and unmodified crops grown in either increased temperature, increased carbon dioxide, or today’s climate conditions.

Read more at: Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Image Credit: Claire Benjamin, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

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