Abstract - The growing world population and the plateauing of increases in grain yield from the major crops, demands that we find new approaches to improve crop productivity. Ultimately, the cumulative rate of photosynthesis over the season determines plant productivity, but photosynthesis has never been used as a screen for high yielding crops. In recent years evidence has accumulated suggesting that increasing photosynthetic capacity can lead to increased plant growth and yield. We are manipulating multiple targets to improve both electron transport and CO2 assimilation and are testing the resulting transgenic plants in both the greenhouse and the field. My talk will provide an update on our progress to manipulations with the greatest potential to improve productivity and yield.
Biography - Professor Christine A. Raines is a Professor of Plant Molecular Physiology and head of the school of biological sciences at the same University.
She is also the Editor- in- Chief of the Journal of Experimental Botany. Professor Raines has an international reputation for research on the Calvin cycle, with many years of experience in the molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology of this process.
Professor Raines’ main research interest is in primary carbon metabolism started with the isolation and characterisation of the genes encoding the enzymes of the Calvin cycle.
Since 1995 a major focus in her laboratory has been to investigate the relative importance of individual enzymes in the Calvin cycle in controlling the rate of carbon fixation and plant growth. She is also interested in how growth of plant in elevated CO2 affects photosynthetic capacity in field conditions.
Work in the Raines’ lab showed that the enzyme SBPase exercises strong control over CO2 assimilation in tobacco plants and that photosynthetic capacity and yield are increased in transgenic tobacco plants with elevated SBPase. Other recent work in the Raines lab showed that activity of the Calvin cycle can be modulated in response to rapidly changing light levels that occur in the natural environment via the dynamic formation and dissociation of the PRK/GAPDH/CP12 complex.
She is also part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency project (RIPE) funded by the Bill and Melinda gates foundation.