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Improved Heat Tolerance in Plants for Enhanced Crop Yields Under Heat Stress

A novel variant of RCA (Rubisco activase) with greater activity at elevated temperatures

Background

Climate change models project as much as a ~1-5°C increase in the average temperature within 100 years, and suggest that yields for staple crops could decrease by anything from 2-25% in the next 10-30 years. Photosynthesis is a core factor in crop productivity. Photosynthesis is temperature sensitive, and every species has an optimum temperature range above which photosynthesis and yield is reduced. Rubisco and the enzyme which activates it — Rubisco activase (RCA) — constitute the critical first step in photosynthesis. The reduction in photosynthesis at above-optimal temperatures has been linked specifically to the inhibition of RCA. If greater activity of RCA could be engineered at elevated temperatures, photosynthetic performance would increase and crops would become more productive in

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