Speeding up stomatal responses

A plant's cellular metabolism rapidly adjusts to changes in light conditions, but its stomata—pores that allow gas exchange in leaves—are slower to respond. Because of the lagging response, photosynthesis is less efficient, and excess water is lost through the open pores. Papanatsiou et al. introduced a blue light–responsive ion channel into stomata of the small mustard plant Arabidopsis. The channel increased the rate of stomata opening and closing in response to light. The engineered plants produced more biomass, especially in the fluctuating light conditions typical of outdoor growth. Read the full article here.