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Articles by Video Producer Jesse Nichols

Jesse Nichols is a video producer at Grist.

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Pretty much all life on Earth – plants, animals, humans – in large part, owe their entire existence to one microscopic protein. It’s called ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, better known as RuBisCO, and it’s an enzyme: a biological machine that helps turn CO2 into energy.

Of the millions of enzymes on earth, RuBisCO might be the most important. It’s essential to photosynthesis, and without it, plants would be unable to grow. Without RuBisCO, nearly all life on Earth would starve.

But even though it’s everywhere, and has been around for billions of years, RuBisCO kind of sucks at its job. And it’s getting worse as the world gets hotter.

Today, a global team of scientists is trying to accomplish something that evolution has previously failed to do: building a better RuBisCO.

RuBisCO was discovered kind of by accident. It was the 1940s, and an aimless grad student named Sam Wildman stumbled on a newly-released book abou... Read more

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