Tammy Sage & Matt Stata
Professor Tammy Sage (left) and PhD student Matt Stata inside U of T's greenhouse, which houses one of the largest collections of C4 plants in Canada (Photo: Sissi Wang)

Hacking photosynthesis to re-engineer crop plants and feed the world

Tammy Sage, associate professor at the University of Toronto is working on a different way to "tune up" photosynthesis in one of the world's most important crops: rice.

"Photorespiration has actually been eliminated in C4 plants," said Sage. Duplicating C4 photosynthesis in plants that haven't evolved for it is a difficult task. "There's a lot of changes that need to happen with respect to the plant's anatomy and physiology." 

Professor Sage and her group have been able to replicate at least the first steps in the evolutionary path they're trying to follow to engineer C4 rice.