Researchers specializing in genetic modification have developed a superpowered strain of tobacco plants that grow substantially faster and more efficiently than conventional crops, according to a new report published in the journal Science.
How did the experiment work? The researchers inserted genes into the DNA of tobacco plants that they believed would increase three specific proteins that are involved in photosynthesis, the process of turning sunlight into energy.
“The objective was simply to boost the level of three proteins already present in tobacco,” Long explained. By boosting these proteins, the researchers reasoned that the plants would grow more with the same amount of sunlight. Once they had produced multiple modified tobacco plants, they selected the three most productive specimens and planted them alongside regular tobacco crops.
Of the modified plants, two were 20 percent more productive than the standard strain, and one was 14 percent more productive.
In other words, the GMOs were bigger and better.