In 2019, British and Austrian scientists found that a gradual increase in the temperature of our planet can significantly reduce the yield of some crops. Menopause can be especially hard on corn, so it would be good if it grew in as many regions of the Earth as possible. However, this plant, like many other agricultural crops, does not tolerate low temperatures well and rarely pleases with a large harvest in cold conditions. However, American scientists dared to suggest that by increasing the production of one natural enzyme in corn, it is possible to teach the plant to survive and produce a large harvest in almost any conditions.
The idea of a group of scientists led by Professor David Stern was written in the scientific publication Plant Biotechnology Journal. They studied the role of the natural enzyme ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBisCO) in plant life for a long time and found out one interesting detail. It turned out that the more this enzyme is contained in plants, the more they grow and develop faster. Based on this, scientists have assumed that by forcing corn to produce more of this substance, they can teach it to grow even in cold conditions.
How to accelerate plant growth?
To test whether it is possible to increase the cold resistance of corn by increasing the concentration of RuBisCO in it, the scientists conducted an experiment. By editing the plant's genes, they created a corn variety that actually produces more of the aforementioned substance than normal. The created plant was planted next to common corn in a temperature-controlled container. At first, the plants were grown for three weeks at 25 degrees Celsius, but then the temperature was lowered to 14 degrees for two weeks and raised again to the original level.
This is what a perfect ear of corn should look like.
Scientists explained this by the fact that in this way they recreated the conditions under which corn is planted in relatively warm weather and experiences a cold period. Typically, if corn is exposed to such temperature fluctuations, plant growth will be greatly slowed down and good yields cannot be expected from it. However, the RuBisCO-rich corn variety recovered fairly quickly from the temperature drop and, in contrast to the control plants, yielded well.
It follows from this that by increasing the concentration of just one enzyme, scientists may well create plant varieties that perfectly adapt to cold conditions. Only at the moment, scientists do not know which crops can be subjected to such changes. For this it is necessary to conduct other studies, only the authors of the work are not going to carry them out yet, at least in the near future. Instead, they want the corn to produce stronger cobs in colder conditions, because the result is not entirely satisfying.