How deep and consequential can genetic engineering go?  Work back from what 
humanity most needs.  Work up from the mechanisms of Earth’s primary 
production—how it turns sunlight into life.  All life.

Three billion people—nearly half of us--depend on rice for survival.  What if 
you could adjust rice genetically so 1) it has a 50% greater yield, 2) using 
half the water, 3) needing far less fertilizer, 4) along with higher resilience 
to climate change?  It would transform world agriculture.

All you need to do is switch rice from inefficient C3 photosynthesis to the 
kind of C4 photosynthesis employed by corn, sugarcane, and sorghum.  That 
switch has been made in plants 60 independent times by evolution, so we have 
models for how to do it.  In 02008 the International Rice Research Institute in 
the Philippines, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set in motion 
a consortium of 12 labs worldwide working on developing C4 rice.

One of the major leaders of the work is Professor Jane Langdale at Oxford 
University’s Department of Plant Sciences. Former Long Now speaker Charles C. 
Mann (who is writing about C4 rice) recommended her highly.

If C4 rice proves successful, it could lead to similar radical improvement for 
other inefficient crops such as wheat.  Decades of focussed research could 
produce centuries in which ever less land provides ever more food, leaving ever 
more of the planet to nature.

"Radical Ag: C4 Rice and Beyond," Jane Langdale, SFJAZZ Center, Hayes Valley, 
San Francisco, 7pm, Monday, March 14.  The show starts promptly at 7:30pm.

To be sure of a seat:
• Long Now Members <> can use the discount code 
on the Langdale Seminar page to reserve 2 free seats 
• You can purchase tickets for $15 each 
• Seminar at SFJAZZ Center <> 201 
Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
• Tune into the live audio stream <> for Long Now 
Members at 7:30 PT - become a member <> for just 
$8 a month.
Share this talk: Jane Langdale, "Radical Ag: C4 Rice and Beyond" Long Now talk 
on 3/14 <>

Talks coming up:
April 11 (Mon.) - Priyamvada Natarajan, Solving Dark Matter and Dark Energy 
May 2 (Mon.) - Walter Mischel, The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control 
June 20 (Mon.) - Brian Christian, Algorithms to Live By 

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are available to Long Now members.  Membership, which starts at $8/month 
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