Eating the Sun: Can Humans Be Hacked to Do Photosynthesis?
J Thoendell stashed this in Science
Imagine if we could do as the plants do, and feed directly off the sun’s energy. It would certainly make our lives easier: The countless hours spent purchasing, preparing, and eating food could be redirected elsewhere (and we wouldn’t even need Soylent). Over-exploited agricultural lands would revert to natural ecosystems. Rates of starvation, malnutrition, and food borne illness would plummet.
But humans and plants haven’t shared a common ancestor for hundreds of millions of years. Nearly everything about our biology is fundamentally different. So it would seem like there’s no way we could actually engineer ourselves to do photosynthesis—or is there?
Synthetic biologists like Christina Agapakis have actually been exploring this possibility in depth, and have even tried to create plant-animal hybrids of their own. While we’re far from building a photosynthetic human, new research reveals an intriguing biological mechanism that could advance this nascent field.
This is an incredible breakthrough but there's still lots of work to be done.
More on this research: