A wish list for synthetic biology in photosynthesis research

Xin Guang Zhu, Donald R. Ort, Martin A.J. Parry, Susanne Von Caemmerer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This perspective summarizes the presentations and discussions at the "International Symposium on Synthetic Biology in Photosynthesis Research", which was held in Shanghai in 2018. Leveraging the current advanced understanding of photosynthetic systems, the symposium brain-stormed about the redesign and engineering of photosynthetic systems for translational goals and evaluated available new technologies/tools for synthetic biology as well as technological obstacles and new tools that would be needed to overcome them. Four major research areas for redesigning photosynthesis were identified: (i) mining natural variations of photosynthesis; (ii) coordinating photosynthesis with pathways utilizing photosynthate; (iii) reconstruction of highly efficient photosynthetic systems in non-host species; and (iv) development of new photosynthetic systems that do not exist in nature. To expedite photosynthesis synthetic biology research, an array of new technologies and community resources need to be developed, which include expanded modelling capacities, molecular engineering toolboxes, model species, and phenotyping tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2219-2225
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 6 2020


  • Artificial photosynthesis
  • C engineering
  • carboxysome
  • fluorescence marker proteins
  • natural variation
  • photosynthesis
  • synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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