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CRISPR for Carbon Capture

This post has been updated to fix the name of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Researchers from the Innovative Genomics Institute are launching a new program to use CRISPR to develop crops that can better capture and store carbon, according to Technology Review.

It adds that the IGI, which was established by the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna, has received $11 million in funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for this effort. The program is to focus on altering photosynthesis so plants grow more quickly as well as to develop larger root systems that burrow more deeply in the soil, Tech Review adds. A deeper root system, it notes, would keep carbon captured by plants in the soil longer.

"This technology has the potential to supercharge the natural abilities of plants, enabling them to pull more carbon out of the atmosphere and store more carbon in their roots and the surrounding soil — providing a new set of innovative tools to address climate change," CZI co-founder and co-CEO Priscilla Chan says in a statement.

Tech Review notes, though, that the changes the researchers want to make may be tricky to implement as the functions are influenced by a number of different genes and as some crop plants have been better studied than others.