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The Genetic Engineering Plan to Turn Trees Black and Cool the World

According to Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina, who is reporting from this year's Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Michel said that through the means of genetic engineering and old-school plant selection, scientists could make photosynthesis even better at pulling carbon dioxide from the air.

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A plan to cool the world could see leaves turned black. Photo: neiljs

In our ever-warming world, some scientists, like 1988 Nobel prize-winning biochemist Hartmut Michel, think that plants could be tapped to do even more than they already are.

According to Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina, who is reporting from this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Michel said that through the means of genetic engineering and old-school plant selection, scientists could make photosynthesis even better at pulling carbon dioxide from the air. That’s something that might be especially useful if we want to blunt the effects of climate change. The downside?

Leaves will be black. How would you like that?

The sci-fiesque talk of blackened forests may be just a tad odd, like glowing fish, glowing tobacco, or silk-making goats. But, that seems to be only one potential side-effect of the myriad ways scientists are investigating harnessing plants to cool the world

 

More from Smithsonian.com:

Food, Modified Food 

The History of Air

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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