Review: Applying synthetic biology and genetic engineering to photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a complex process that has the potential to be greatly improved through human modifications. However, these modifications have been limited by two main factors: the high degree of conservation of the components, and the multiprotein complexes that require specifically modified proteins from different cellular compartments. Nevertheless, the light reactions of photosynthesis are exciting targets for genetic engineering and synthetic biology due to their importance in photosynthesis and their further uses in natural compound and energy production. In this review, Dario Leister describes current advances in modifying the light reactions of photosynthesis and what future work is required. He also discusses how modified photosynthetic processes can be used to produce hydrogen, electricity or other high-value compounds. (Summary by Julia Miller) Plant Physiol. 10.1104/pp.18.00360