Due to the growing world population, crop yields must increase to meet the rising demand. Crop plants also require adaptation to optimize performance in the changing environments caused by climate change. Improving photosynthetic carbon fixation is a promising, albeit technically challenging, strategy whose potential has only just begun to be considered in breeding programmes. Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), a fundamental enzyme of carbon fixation, is extremely inefficient and many strategies to improve photosynthesis focus on overcoming the limitations of this enzyme, either by improving Rubisco activity and regulation or by improving the supply of substrates. Although progress is being made, the need to tailor solutions for each crop and their respective environments has been highlighted. Even so, continuing research will be required to achieve these objectives and to grow crops more sustainably in the future.

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