J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2018, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (12): 1154-1180.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12738

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Systems model-guided rice yield improvements based on genes controlling source, sink, and flow

Pan Li1,2†, Tiangen Chang3†, Shuoqi Chang2, Xiang Ouyang2, Mingnan Qu3, Qingfeng Song3, Langtao Xiao1, Shitou Xia1, Qiyun Deng2 and Xin-Guang Zhu3*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice, Key Laboratory of Phytochromes, Hunan Agriculture University, Changsha 410125, China
    2State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice, Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Center, Changsha 410125, China
    3National Key Laboratory for Plant Molecular Genetics, CAS Center of Excellence of Molecular Plant Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, CAS, Shanghai 200031, China

    ?These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence:

    Email: zhuxinguang@picb.ac.cn
  • Received:2018-08-29 Accepted:2018-11-07 Online:2018-11-10 Published:2018-12-01

Abstract: A large number of genes related to source, sink, and flow have been identified after decades of research in plant genetics. Unfortunately, these genes have not been effectively utilized in modern crop breeding. This perspective paper aims to examine the reasons behind such a phenomenon and propose a strategy to resolve this situation. Specifically, we first systematically survey the currently cloned genes related to source, sink, and flow; then we discuss three factors hindering effective application of these identified genes, which include the lack of effective methods to identify limiting or critical steps in a signaling network, the misplacement of emphasis on properties, at the leaf, instead of the whole canopy level, and the non-linear complex interaction between source, sink, and flow. Finally, we propose the development of systems models of source, sink and flow, together with a detailed simulation of interactions between them and their surrounding environments, to guide effective use of the identified elements in modern rice breeding. These systems models will contribute directly to the definition of crop ideotype and also identification of critical features and parameters that limit the yield potential in current cultivars.

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