5-speed listening (Level 2)

Scientists change plants sunblock to grow more crops






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Biologists have thought of a new way to increase the size of crops by 20 per cent. They genetically modified the thing in plants that is responsible for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the important chemical reaction where plants use sunlight to change carbon dioxide into oxygen. It lets us breathe. The scientists found a way for plants to use the energy they get from sunlight better, so they produce more food. Lead researcher Professor Stephen Long said his team is genetically modifying the world's biggest crops, such as rice, wheat, maize and soybean.

The scientists changed the thing that plants use to protect themselves from damage from the Sun's strongest rays. Plants turn their energy into heat when they become too hot. However, plants do this even when clouds block the Sun. The scientists put extra copies of the heat-loss genes into plants. These speed up the heat-loss process so the plants can quickly return to using energy to grow. This could help the world's food needs. Professor Long said if he could get 20 per cent more food from crops, it would reduce the future pressure on food supply.

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