Branching Shoots and Spikes from Lateral Meristems in Bread Wheat

Ying Wang, Fang Miao, Liuling Yan
PloS One 2016, 11 (3): e0151656
Wheat grain yield consists of three components: spikes per plant, grains per spike (i.e. head or ear), and grain weight; and the grains per spike can be dissected into two subcomponents: spikelets per spike and grains per spikelet. An increase in any of these components will directly contribute to grain yield. Wheat morphology biology tells that a wheat plant has no lateral meristem that forms any branching shoot or spike. In this study, we report two novel shoot and spike traits that were produced from lateral meristems in bread wheat. One is supernumerary shoot that was developed from an axillary bud at the axil of leaves on the elongated internodes of the main stem. The other is supernumerary spike that was generated from a spikelet meristem on a spike. In addition, supernumerary spikelets were generated on the same rachis node of the spike in the plant that had supernumerary shoot and spikes. All of these supernumerary shoots/spikes/spikelets found in the super wheat plants produced normal fertility and seeds, displaying huge yield potential in bread wheat.


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