5 years ago

Differential manipulation of leaf angle throughout the canopy: current status and prospects.

Maria G Salas Fernandez, Maria Betsabe Mantilla-Perez
Leaf angle is defined as the inclination between the midrib of the leaf blade and the vertical stem of a plant. This trait has been identified as a key component in the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal species, particularly maize, rice, wheat, and sorghum. The effect of leaf angle on light interception efficiency, photosynthetic rate, and yield has been investigated since the 1960s, yet, significant knowledge gaps remain in understanding the genetic control of this complex trait. Recent advances in physiology and modeling have proposed a plant ideotype with varying leaf angles throughout the canopy. In this context, we present historical and recent evidence of: (i) the effect of leaf angle on photosynthetic efficiency and yield; (ii) the hormonal regulation of this trait; (iii) the current knowledge on its quantitative genetic control; and (iv) the opportunity to utilize high-throughput phenotyping methods to characterize leaf angle at multiple canopy levels. We focus on research conducted on grass species of economic importance, with similar plant architecture and growth patterns. Finally, we present the challenges and strategies plant breeders will need to embrace in order to manipulate leaf angle differentially throughout the canopy and develop superior crops for food, feed, and fuel production.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erx378

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erx378

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