Engineering Biology
Food & Agriculture Challenge:

Produce more food for a growing global population.

Increase the availability and consistency of agricultural crop production by combating stressors and expanding consumable species.

Engineering Biology Objectives & Technical Achievements

Maintain crop yield under abiotic stress.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Minimize change in crop development times expected under higher temperature by regulating plant hormones and developmental gene expression.

Introduce C4 pathways introduced into C3 organisms to maintain photosynthetic capacity with stress from temperature and temperature variation.

Improve efficiency of photosynthetic pathway components.

Reduce heat- and water-stress-response during critical reproductive periods, such as fruit and seed formation.

Chloroplast engineering to improve/stabilize photosynthetic pathways.

Reduce transpiration rates due to increased temperatures.

Modeling of crop response to complex environmental changes, including global climate change.

Maintain crop yield under biotic stress.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Identify native insect and disease resistance traits (e.g., R genes) from non-crop species, or from non-domesticated “crop” species, and introduce to crop species.

Engineer durable resistance in crops from computationally-designed proteins modeled after natural resistances and improving therein.

Engineer novel insecticidal proteins with different mode-of-action or spectrum-of-control beyond those in use today.

Introduce metabolic or signalling pathways that improve or reinforce plant defense response to insect or disease pressure.

Accelerate domestication of wild plant species.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Insert desirable traits (encoded by multiple genes or processes) from wild species into modern crops, or from modern crops into edible wild species, to improve plant products such as fruit size and yield, while maintaining genetic diversity and better protection from biotic/abiotic stresses.

Improve expression and activity of “domestication” genes to (re)introduce into wild species to generate new crops, increasing the number and variety of regional sources for calories and protein.

Add new pathways to improve oils, proteins, and vitamin sources in “alternative” or newly domesticated crop species.

Last updated: June 19, 2019 Back