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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top 10 questions facing plant science research

Plant science has never been more important. It is beginning to address grand challenges, but it is not clear that the full range of challenges facing plant science is known or has been assessed. What questions should the next generation of plant biologists be addressing?

Theses are the top ten investigatory project ideas in plant science.

How do we feed our children’s children? 

By 2050 the world population will triple and demands energy intensive foods such as meat and dairy. Meeting these demands over the years
to come requires much increase in food production capacity. How are we going to achieve this?

Which crops should be grown to feed billions?

Majority of agricultural land is used to produce basic crops. As population expands without significant  improvement  in the yield of these crops, there will be shortage of agricultural lands. So we may be forced to choose between producing staple food crops or luxury crops such as tea, coffee and so on.

When and how can we achieve simultaneous increase  in yields and reduce environmental impact?

What are the best ways to control  invasive species including plants, pests and pathogens? 

Without the control of these, we may be forced to use environmentally damaging means such as chemical control or mechanical excavation. Sustainable solution is required to deal with these problems.

What difference is there that justify special regulation for genetically modified species?

Plants derived by genetic modification are highly regulated. But it is important for food safety and public perception to establish objective differences between them to justify the regulation. 

How can plants contribute to solving the energy crisis and ameliorating global warming?

To avoid global warming CO2 must be taken out of air and not put back. Biochar plays important role in thie regards. 

How do plant contribute to the ecosystem services upon which humanity depends?

A combined approach of understanding both the services provided by ecosystems and how plants contribute to the functioning of such ecosystems will require interdisciplinary collaboration between plant scientists, biogeochemists, and ecologists.

What new scientific approaches will be central to plant biology in the 21st Century?

New technologies can provides us with more detailed data in short time. But without robust way of analyzing and interpreting the data, it is challenging to ansewer questions that deliver important insights.

How do we insure that the society appreciates the full importance of plants?

How do we ensure that sound science informs policy decisions? 

Since policy decisions affect us all, it is important that they are based on robust and based on sound science.


One hundred important questions facing plant science research



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