Improving yield by exploiting mechanisms underlying natural variation of photosynthesis
Increasing photosynthesis in C3 species has been identified as an approach to increase the yield of crop plants. Most of our knowledge of photosynthetic performance has come from studies in which plants were grown in controlled growth conditions but plants in natural environments have to cope with unpredictable and rapidly changing conditions. Plants adapt to the light environment in which they grow and this is demonstrated by the differences in anatomy and morphology of leaves in sun and shade leaves. Superimposed on this are the dynamic responses of plants to rapid changes in the light environment that occur throughout the day. Application of next generation sequencing (NGS), QTL analysis and innovative phenomic screening can provide information to underpin approaches for breeding of higher yielding crop plants.
Graphical abstractSchematic describing species-specific natural variation in developmental and dynamic acclimation in response to light environment. Development in the prevailing growth light environment (illustrated in yellow) is determined by acclimatory responses that set the plant's overall maximum potential photosynthetic capacity. Plant dynamic responses (illustrated in blue) are modulated in by the natural fluctuating light environment and influence biochemical and cellular processes that determine the plant's actual photosynthetic rate. The time scale for developmental acclimation is in the time scale of days to weeks whilst dynamic responses occur from seconds to tens of minutes. Developmental capacity and dynamic responses ultimately determine overall net capacity. ET — photosynthetic electron transport and CC — Calvin cycle.Figure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload high-quality image (227 K)Download as PowerPoint slideHighlights► Light conditions in natural environments are unpredictable and change rapidly ► Plant responses to changes in light availability varies between species ► The genetic basis of this variation can be exploited to improve photosynthesis.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 23, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 215–220