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Engineering crassulacean acid metabolism to improve water-use efficiency

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Anne Borland


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Climatic extremes threaten agricultural sustainability worldwide. One approach to increase plant water-use efficiency (WUE) is to introduce crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) into C-3 crops. Such a task requires comprehensive systems-level understanding of the enzymatic and regulatory pathways underpinning this temporal CO2 pump. Here we review the progress that has been made in achieving this goal. Given that CAM arose through multiple independent evolutionary origins, comparative transcriptomics and genomics of taxonomically diverse CAM species are being used to define the genetic 'parts list' required to operate the core CAM functional modules of nocturnal carboxylation, diurnal decarboxylation, and inverse stomatal regulation. Engineered CAM offers the potential to sustain plant productivity for food, feed, fiber, and biofuel production in hotter and drier climates.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Borland AM, Hartwell J, Weston DJ, Schlauch KA, Tschaplinski TJ, Tuskan GA, Yang XH, Cushman JC

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Trends in Plant Science

Year: 2014

Volume: 19

Issue: 5

Pages: 327-338

Print publication date: 19/02/2014

ISSN (print): 1360-1385

ISSN (electronic): 1878-4372



DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2014.01.006