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Trends Plant Sci. 2017 Feb;22(2):124-139. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2016.09.005. Epub 2016 Oct 21.

Molecular Evolution of Grass Stomata.

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College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China; School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. Electronic address:
College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China.
Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biophysics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom.
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.
Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.


Grasses began to diversify in the late Cretaceous Period and now dominate more than one third of global land area, including three-quarters of agricultural land. We hypothesize that their success is likely attributed to the evolution of highly responsive stomata capable of maximizing productivity in rapidly changing environments. Grass stomata harness the active turgor control mechanisms present in stomata of more ancient plant lineages, maximizing several morphological and developmental features to ensure rapid responses to environmental inputs. The evolutionary development of grass stomata appears to have been a gradual progression. Therefore, understanding the complex structures, developmental events, regulatory networks, and combinations of ion transporters necessary to drive rapid stomatal movement may inform future efforts towards breeding new crop varieties.


comparative genomics; guard cell modeling; ion transporters; stomatal development; stomatal evolution

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