University of Illinois researchers have built a better plant, one that produces more leaves and fruit without needing extra fertilizer. The researchers accomplished the feat using a computer model that mimics the process of evolution. Theirs is the first model to simulate every step of the photosynthetic process.
â€œThe question we wanted to ask, was, â€˜Can we do better than the plant, in terms of productivity?â€™ â€
It wasnâ€™t feasible to tackle this question with experiments on actual plants, Long said. With more than 100 proteins involved in photosynthesis, testing one protein at a time would require an enormous investment of time and money.
â€œBut now that we have the photosynthetic process â€˜in silico,â€™ we can test all possible permutations on the supercomputer,â€ he said.