General Sherman Tree, in Sequoia National Park: Largest living organism in the world | Image: Wikipedia
Scientists in this zone are looking at genetically modifying plants to improve the amount of a crop, as well as how infections and disease can affect plants. They are looking at the cell structures of plants, looking at what makes them edible, what makes them more likely to survive, how do we make them more healthy?
Plants cover most of the Earth’s land surface, from the lawns and weeds sprouting between the paving flags in your front yard, to General Sherman, a giant sequoia in California, US, the largest known tree at more than 52,000 cubic feet (perhaps the largest living thing in the world). The tallest tree in the world is thought to be a coast redwood nicknamed Hyperion, also in California, US, standing at nearly 390 ft.
Plants are of vital importance to life on Earth. They provide food, as well as homes and ecosystems for many creatures. Plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis, and more than 20% of the world’s oxygen is thought to come from the Amazon Rainforest.