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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1 - The Team
2 - Objectives
3 - Increasing Efficiency
4 - Competetiveness
5 - In the Field
6 - Collaboration
7 - Energy
8 - Balancing Act
The Team

Photosynthesis Research Unit (PRU) -- The name seems pretty self-explanatory, perhaps conjuring up images of scientist-gardeners with dirt under their fingernails, working in state-of-the-art greenhouses, growing soybeans and corn under exotic artificial lights. So, when I sat down to interview four of the five researchers that head up the PRU -- a branch of the Agricultural Research Service, which in turn is a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- I wasn't expecting to get caught up in a discussion that spanned so many diverse topics.

As we talked about their research we touched on issues ranging from global population growth to intricate computer models of a soybean plant's leaf canopy, from the growing import needs of China to global warming and rising CO2 levels. But as fascinating and eye opening as those subjects were, the most astonishing was the idea of genetically engineering plants to act as factories for the production of . . . well . . . the implications are mind boggling, but that's getting ahead of the story.


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Last Modified: 3/21/2006
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