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The conventional genetic engineering approach in plants targets plant nuclei, which means it’s limited by the fact that there is only one nucleus in a plant. But what if there was a method of genetic engineering that could target a plant’s 50 to 60 chloroplasts?

Dr. Tedrick Thomas Salim Lew works as part of a team of engineers at MIT with the goal of accomplishing something that’s never been done before: gaining control of plant genomes by introducing DNA nanoparticles into their chloroplasts, and thereby making plants more efficient users of nutrients, increasing their growth rate, causing them to produce more protective antibodies, and allowing for the production of hormones that can be used for human drug and vaccine development.

He explains how this method will significantly decrease the cost and minimize the steps involved in the production of vaccines and touches on several other potential applications of this technology.

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