Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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C3 Photosynthetic Pathway

Set of reactions during diurnal photosynthesis in which a specific enzyme (Rubisco) uses carbon atoms from CO2 to produce a three-carbon compound (C3); this occurs in a single chloroplast. Plants that utilize this process are at risk of losing carbon through photorespiration. More than 95% of the earth’s plant species can be characterized as C3 vegetation.

Cf. C4 photosynthetic pathway.

See carbon isotope analysis.

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