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Plant Sci. 2011 Oct;181(4):331-41. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Abiotic stress and control of grain number in cereals.

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CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Grain number is the only yield component that is directly associated with increased grain yield in important cereal crops like wheat. Historical yield studies show that increases in grain yield are always accompanied by an increase in grain number. Adverse weather conditions can cause severe fluctuations in grain yield and substantial yield losses in cereal crops. The problem is global and despite its impact on world food production breeding and selection approaches have only met with limited success. A specific period during early reproductive development, the young microspore stage of pollen development, is extremely vulnerable to abiotic stress in self-fertilising cereals (wheat, rice, barley, sorghum). A better understanding of the physiological and molecular processes that lead to stress-induced pollen abortion may provide us with the key to finding solutions for maintaining grain number under abiotic stress conditions. Due to the complexity of the problem, stress-proofing our main cereal crops will be a challenging task and will require joint input from different research disciplines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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