Countries where regressive policies toward science have banned modern technologies like genetic engineering are also overwhelmingly unable to feed themselves. Some European countries not only prevent much of Africa from feeding themselves, they ban imports by former colonies that don't do as they are told.

A new breakthrough may mean genetic optimization that green NGOs won't have a reason to ban, like mutagenesis genetic engineering and copper sulfate pesticides, which are currently organic certified.

The new work found that thylakoids, membrane networks key to plant photosynthesis, also function as a defense mechanism to harsh growing conditions. Thylakoids contain grana, structures resembling stacked coins that expand and contract when water flows in and out, like the bellows of an accordion. The action mirrors the movement of guard cells, structures on plant leaves that act like accordion buttons, allowing carbon dioxide in and water vapor out.

The bellows-like action of the thylakoid membrane inside plant chloroplasts harmonizes the flow of electrons to power photosynthesis. A team of scientists led by ORNL theorize the thylakoid can help plants respond to stressful growing conditions such as drought. Credit: Nathan Armistead and Jacquelyn DeMink/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

These structures harmonize the flow of electrons with carbon uptake during photosynthesis. Scientists have questioned why such a complicated network exists in hardier plants.

If that helps plants tolerate fluctuating conditions such as too little or too much water and sunlight, it may be a real boon for people who weren't lucky enough to be born in natural breadbaskets like France and need progressive help.