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Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air and transform it into essential chemicals via photosynthesis. Some of these natural chemicals, called aromatic compounds, are also used in a plethora of products for humans, including fuel, industrial materials, and medications like aspirin and morphine. But it’s difficult to get plants to make enough aromatic compounds for economical harvesting, and most of these chemicals for human use, therefore, are derived from fossil fuels.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered a way to alter plants’ genes so they produce more aromatics. Plus, the genetic change prompts plants to absorb 30% more CO2 than usual without negatively affecting the plants.