Opportunities to Improve Adaptability and Yield in Grasses
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Population trends predict increasing food needs while progress in developmental and genomic plant sciences offer new opportunities for crop improvements. The grass-based grain crops have a high degree of synteny in their genomes, thus raising the possibility of using specific information more broadly. Studies of Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench are beginning to link physiological behavior to specific genes and hormone-based regulatory systems in ways that suggest specific strategies for improvement. Findings from several other grasses are adding to the pool of information being derived from Sorghum. This information relates to flowering and floral development, maturity and senescence, temperature effects via the biological clock, shade avoidance behavior, apical dominance, shoot elongation, and root development including constitutive aerenchyma formation. These studies, along with others, offer a number of options for conventional plant breeding and genetic transformations to improve grass-based crops and satisfy part of the projected human food needs of coming decades.
author list (cited authors)
Morgan, P. W., Finlayson, S. A., Childs, K. L., Mullet, J. E., & Rooney, W. L.