My Speaker List

Can We Hack DNA in Plants to Help Fight Climate Change?

What if we could create plants and soils that are even better at capturing carbon? With CRISPR genome editing—a revolutionary new molecular biology toolset that allows scientists to make rapid and precise edits to the DNA code that underpins all life—that might be possible. Last month, the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), a San Francisco Bay area research consortium founded by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, began to explore the idea in earnest. With an $11-million gift from the Chan Zuckerberg Institute, a team of plant geneticists, soil scientists, and microbial ecologists embarked on a three-year effort using CRISPR to create new crop varieties that photosynthesize more efficiently and funnel more carbon into the soil. Eventually, the researchers hope to create gene-edited rice and sorghum seeds that could – if planted around the globe – pull more than a billion extra tons of carbon out of the air annually.

Read the original article in National Geographic.