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Plant Science

Potential use of the CRISPR system to change flower colour

Japanese morning glory Ipomoea

In a world-first, Japanese scientists have used the revolutionary CRISPR, or CRISPR/Cas9, genome- editing tool to change flower colour in an ornamental plant. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Yokohama City University, Japan, altered the flower colour of the traditional Japanese …

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Photosynthesis could lead to the design of artificial solar cells

A natural process that occurs during photosynthesis could lead to the design of more efficient artificial solar cells, according to researchers at Georgia State University. During photosynthesis, plants and other organisms, such as algae and cyanobacteria, convert solar energy into chemical energy that can later be used as fuel for activities. …

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Sensors that measure the electrical capacitance of leaves

Leaf sensor

Plant-based sensors that measure the thickness and electrical capacitance of leaves show great promise for telling farmers when to activate their irrigation systems, preventing both water waste and parched plants, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Continuously monitoring plant “water stress” is particularly critical in arid …

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Magic mushrooms produce psychoactive compounds

Magic mashroom

Little fungi pack a punch: “Magic mushrooms” of the Psilocybe species produce psychoactive compounds that alter perception when ingested. Recently, the effects on the neuronal system caused by their ingredient psilocybin have attracted the interest of pharmacologists. German scientists have now identified four of the enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of psilocybin. …

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Algae is a desirable biofuel source

Algal biofuel

You might not cook with this sugar, but from a biofuels standpoint, it’s pretty sweet. A Bay Area company has patented a group of three single-celled, algae-like organisms that, when grown together, can produce high quantities of sugar just right for making biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories is helping HelioBioSys Inc. …

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