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Programming Plants for Food Security

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Wild plant vs engineered plant


Dr. Jennifer Brophy is pioneering the foundations for how 21st-century engineers will program plants to produce what both plants and people need.

Plants are both the primary collectors of energy and manipulators of matter on Earth. Our collective ability to partner with plants to provision food, fuel, shelter, and medicines has been established over tens of thousands of years via traditional methods such as domestication and breeding, but we are now at a point in history when our ability to keep up with environmental change is no longer possible.

By partnering with plants, including her work to rationally reprogram the growth and form of plant roots, Professor Brophy is working to close this gap. Her approach promises to enable the general-purpose engineering of plant structure and form, from the shapes of flowers to the size and structure of fruits, and beyond.