Research NewsPlant Biochemistry

Mutant Alga Blurs Classic Picture of Photosynthesis

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Science  19 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5273, pp. 310
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5273.310

Summary

Biochemists have been fairly confident for nearly 3 decades that they understand photosynthesis, perhaps the most important reaction in biology. But work reported on page 364 is now challenging one of the longest standing tenets of that understanding. A team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has disabled one of the two key photosystems in photosynthesis in a single-celled alga and found that it still thrives in normal conditions. The results may force researchers to reconsider the ubiquity of the accepted two-stage scheme and may also throw light on the evolution of photosynthesis.