Scientists win prize for genetic modification of oil producing plants

Scientists who have found a way to control plant genes have won this year’s Prime Ministers’ Prize for Science.

Doctors Peter Waterhouse and Ming-Bo Wang from CSIRO Plant Industry in Canberra have been able to silence genes that were affected by a virus.

While the rest of the world finds new ways to apply the technology, Peter and Ming-Bo are applying their work to projects that have the capacity to transform agriculture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I guess one of the first ones is going to be modifying oils, for biodiesels and perhaps turning oils that are not good for human consumption into ones that are good.

I’d like to see gene-silencing used to combat climate change. For example, we are working to create plants that could produce biofuels customised for different engines. These crops would be much more efficient at making biofuels than the current processes using corn or sugar.

They’d capture the CO2 when they grow, and release it when used as fuel-a closed circle with no net carbon emissions!

Source: ABC Rural, Dept. of Education, Science and Training

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