Redesigning rice photosynthesis to increase yield
The principal objective of this workshop was to explore the possibilities of increasing yield in rice to keep up with population growth by redesigning the rice plant's photosynthetic pathway. We wanted to establish at what level we at IRRI should work on this problem, what the key areas into which we should channel our energies are and curcially, what partnerships could be constructed to further our aims. We discussed whether the inefficiencies in current photosynthetic systems could be eliminated and if it would be possible to imitate nature and produce a rice plant with the superior photosynthetic capacity of maize. The difficulties in producing such novel plants and the advantages they would offer in terms of yield and use of natural resources were the subject of much discussion. It was concluded that such a plant could revolutionize rice farming, but producing it will not be an easy task.
We are grateful to the internationally renowned scientists who came to IRRI to participate in the workshop. They all shared their expertise with us and contributed to a fascinating and stimulating debate. The chapters in this book cover various subjects, such as the economic consequences of yield improvements for poverty, the molecular genetics of photosythesis, and the ecophysiological and evolutionary perspectives of photosynthesis in wetlands. IRRI continues to face the challenge of using basic science in the quest to reduce hunger and a workshop such as this one helps us set the agenda.