Terrestrial photosynthesis forms an important part of the global carbon balance as sinks for atmospheric CO2. In agricultural systems, photosynthesis is a vital component of crop yield. There is, therefore, a great need to be able to understand and quantify these processes under changing environmental conditions.
We are using antisense RNA suppression of nuclear genes to repress the levels of certain enzymes of the photosynthetic carbon metabolism in the C3 species such as Tobacco and Arabidopsis and the C4 species Flaveria bidentis. Biochemical and physiological analysis of the consequences of such specific changes has allowed us to test our understanding of the regulation of photosynthesis. Our studies are supported by mathematical modeling of the biochemistry of C3 and C4 photosynthesis and provide basic information that underpine our endeavour to genetically engineer crop plants with enhanced photosynthesis and yield.