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Blinded to the Light

Blinded to the Light

A mutant seedling of the research plant Arabidopsis thaliana, at right, which lacks the gene Hemera fails to respond to the cues that light normally provides to produce energy-making chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green. The albinos grow tall rather than leafy, and soon die, according to biologist Meng Chen, who characterized the crucial gene. Chen hopes his findings can be used to improve a plant's photo-sensory systems, increasing agricultural yields or improving the photosynthesis of biofuel crops . HIs work is supported in part by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds from the National Science Foundation. Learn more