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Crops for a Changing Planet

By ASCR Discovery

September 20, 2022

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For years, scientists have been grappled with a seemingly insurmountable challenge: feeding the world while providing it with renewable energy as the climate changes. Research programs have sprung up to address these issues, developing genetically modified crops to withstand severe heat, drought and extreme-weather events – all the while maximizing productivity.

Designer plants is one thing; figuring out how they'll fare in the field for the long haul is another. That's what Daniel Jacobson, a systems biologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is trying to decipher.

For the past seven years, Jacobson has collaborated with other members of the laboratory's BioEnergy Science Center and the Center for Bioenergy Innovation to study how best to improve the production of plants used for biofuels. And as new supercomputers have booted up at Oak Ridge, Jacobson's been excited to use these cutting-edge tools to study plant genetics and climate patterns on a finer and larger scale, employing machine allotments from the Department of Energy's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment and ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge programs.

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