Blacksburg, Va, Feb. 7, 2014--  An international team of researchers led by scientists at Virginia Tech and the University of California, Berkeley has discovered that a process that turns on photosynthesis in plants likely developed on Earth in ancient microbes 2.5 billion years ago, long before oxygen became available. The research offers new perspective on evolutionary biology, microbiology, and the production of natural gas, and may shed light on climate change, agriculture, and human health.

Biswarup Mukhophadyay, adjunct associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

The research opens new scientific areas in the fields of evolutionary biology and microbiology. The work also has broad societal implications as it allows scientists to better understand the production of natural gas, and it sheds light on climate change, agriculture, and human health.

“By looking at this one mechanism that was not previously studied, we will be able to develop new basic information that potentially has broad impact on contemporary issues ranging from climate change to obesity,” said Biswarup Mukhopadhyay, associate professor of biochemistry at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, one of the lead authors of the study. He is also an adjunct associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Plant and microbial biology professor emeritus Bob B. Buchanan at University of California, Berkeley, co-led the research and co-authored the paper.

Read the full Virginia Tech press release

Contact:

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Zeke Barlow
540-231-5417
zekebarlow@vt.edu

February 07, 2014