In order to coax plants to respond to extreme climate, Brophy is building what she calls “genetic circuits.”In addition to changing the genes within plant cells, this method also changes how and when those genes are triggered, a bit like the logic gates inside a computer. If the plant senses a specific sugar or agrichemical, it can express one protein; if it senses another signal, it’ll express a different protein, kicking off an entirely separate chain of events. If both signals are there, the plant may be able to express something else entirely. “Using circuits, you can have plants respond in new ways to all these different inputs,” she says.
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