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What are the latest discoveries in the field of photosynthesis?
Question Date: 2013-05-03
Answer 1:

That is a really cool question. Scientific research is constantly discovering new things about photosynthesis. Some of the big news from the photosynthetic news booths this year (2012-2013) include:

- New advances in Artificial Photosynthesis (AP) whereby we are trying to recreate the photo-chemical reactions that take place in plant cells. These reactions take up carbon dioxide and convert them into chemical energy with the power of the sun.

-Greater understanding of how Photosynthesis of plants will change under a CO2-rich atmosphere (what is predicted under climate change scenarios). Vine plants like Poison Ivy will grow a lot more but most plants will not increase their CO2 uptake due to other limiting factors such as water and nutrients.

- Better information about the evolution of C4 photosynthesis. This is a type of photosynthesis mostly found in grasses in the tropics but is a widespread phenomenon and evolved multiple times! Scientists are working on how that happened and why? When something as complex as photosynthesis evolves separately in different lineages, it's really cool! It's as if dogs walked on two legs like humans; similar trait but very different ancestry.

-Lastly, there have been new relationships found between photosynthesis and plant pathogens (viruses, bacteria). Scientists are teasing apart how plants defend themselves from these attacks and how that defense costs the plant energy by affecting the photosynthetic system.

Keep on searching! There's a lot of cool science going on our there!


Answer 2:

Photosynthesis is more of a process, not so much of a field. I know people are looking into the genetics of how genes are expressed that make photosynthesis work and are making strides, but I'm not one of them.

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