100 trillion miracles

You take a seed home, put it in the ground, water it, and a few months later it has grown into a plant smarter than your smartphone.

A miracle? Plants perform such feats all the time.

As well as growing themselves, plants can do many other things that would defeat a smartphone. They can make food out of air, water and sunshine; they generate the oxygen we breathe; they create the glorious flowers and foliage of our gardens, and the beautiful forests in which we roam.

Every plant is a miracle of self-construction and performance. You rely on about 50 of these miracles to keep you fed each day, and it takes 100 trillion miracles to feed the worldevery year.  Everything on your plate, whether vegetables, fruit, bread or meat relies on plants. Without plants we and all other animals would not be here.

At the John Innes Centre we want to understand how plants build themselves, how they cope with being out in all weathers, how they defend themselves from attack, and how they make such a diversity of health-giving molecules.

Using the latest techniques in imaging, genetics, genomics and computational modeling, we are continually gaining new and fascinating insights into how plants work. The more we understand plants, the more we can achieve a healthy, sustainable and resilient food supply in the face of a growing world population and changing climate.