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ARS scientists in a plot of soybeans treated with elevated carbon dioxide


Readying Crops and People for Climate Change

Carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” that’s increased by 45 percent since the Industrial Revolution and is a major contributor to global climate change. Another greenhouse gas is ozone, which unlike carbon dioxide, causes direct harm to plants, reducing their growth and yield.

To assist producers in the future, scientists in Urbana have begun “mining” the genetic variability in corn and soybean varieties for traits that could help them better cope with rising levels of these greenhouse gases.  A high-tech facility called SoyFACE that allows for open-air field tests simulating conditions predicted for 2050 is helping this effort. The team is also working to “pass the baton” to the next generation of researchers and industry leaders through their mentorship of student scientists and post-doctoral associates.  Learn more.