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Three genetically modified plants (on left) make better use of limited sunlight available, boosting yields by about 20 percent compared to the wildtype (on right). Haley Ahlers / University of Illinois / Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency / CC BY 2.0

By Paul South

Can you imagine the entire population of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the UK and France going hungry?

You don't need to imagine. That is exactly what happens every day when an estimated 815 million people around the globe go hungry. In the short term, the problem is likely to get worse as the population grows, diets change and urban sprawl forces farmers to produce more food on less land. Recent reports suggest that by the time children born today reach their 30s, the planet must increase food production by at least 70 percent.

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