Systems properties of C4 photosynthesis and its evolution path
Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, 200031.
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Engineering C4 photosynthetic pathway into C3 crops has the potential to dramatically increase the yields of major C3 crops. Next generation sequencing techniques and other high throughput technologies are offering an unprecedented opportunity to elucidate the developmental and evolutionary process of C4 photosynthesis. Two contrasting hypotheses about evolution of C4 photosynthesis exist, i.e. master switch hypothesis and incremental gain hypothesis. These two hypotheses demand two different research strategies to proceed in parallel to maximize the success of C4 engineering. In either case, systems biology research will play pivotal roles in identifying key regulatory controlling development of C4 features, identifying essential biochemical and anatomical features required to achieve high photosynthetic efficiency, elucidating genetic mechanisms underlining C4 differentiation and ultimately identifying viable routes to engineer C4 rice. As a highly interdisciplinary project, the C4 rice project will have far-reaching impacts on both the basic and applied research related to agriculture in the 21st century. In this presentation, we will introduce the current work in different groups in China on C4 rice related research. In particular, we will discuss about the major features controlling the systems property of C4 photosynthesis and the evolutionary path of C4 photosynthesis.
Key Words: C4 photosynthesis, systems biology, evolution, efficiency