Photosynthesis study gets a musical makeover


An Imperial study into the origins of photosynthesis has been turned into a rap by US biology teacher and science music video creator Tom McFadden.

The study was converted into a rap after appearing in a New York Times article about recent research into the colour green. Dr Tanai Cardona, Dr James Murray and Prof Bill Rutherford, all from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, published the study in Molecular Biology and Evolution last month.

They traced the roots of a protein vital for photosynthesis back to cyanobacteria living more than 3 billion years ago, raising the possibility that oxygen-producing photosynthesis could have arisen much earlier than the commonly accepted date of 2.4 billion years ago.

Lead author Dr Cardona is thrilled that the study has had such wide appeal. "I’m very happy to see such a positive response from the public,” he said. “I think many scientists are discouraged from doing fundamental research because of the increasing pressure from funding bodies to produce science with immediate applications or of commercial value.

“So it’s quite rewarding to realize that people are genuinely interested in basic questions, like how the process of photosynthesis originated and evolved billions of years ago."

Read more about the study in our recent news article.


'Origin and evolution of water oxidation before the last common ancestor of the Cyanobacteria' by Cardona, Murray and Rutherford is published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.


Hayley Dunning

Hayley Dunning
Communications Division

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