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Trends Plant Sci. 2009 Aug;14(8):454-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

From dwarves to giants? Plant height manipulation for biomass yield.

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Department of Agronomy, 1126E Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


The increasing demand for lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biofuels provides value to vegetative plant tissue and leads to a paradigm shift for optimizing plant architecture in bioenergy crops. Plant height (PHT) is among the most important biomass yield components and is the focus of this review, with emphasis on the energy grasses maize (Zea mays) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). We discuss the scientific advances in the identification of PHT quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and the understanding of pathways and genes controlling PHT, especially gibberellins and brassinosteroids. We consider pleiotropic effects of QTLs or genes affecting PHT on other agronomically important traits and, finally, we discuss strategies for applying this knowledge to the improvement of dual-purpose or dedicated bioenergy crops.

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