Phytohormones and rice crop yield: strategies and opportunities for genetic improvement

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To feed an estimated world population of 8.9 billion by 2050, strategies for increasing grain production must be developed. Several agronomically important traits for increasing yield, such as plant height, grain number, and leaf erectness, have recently been characterized in rice (Oryza sativa L.). These traits are regulated primarily by three phytohormones: gibberellins, cytokinins, and brassinosteroids. The control of biosynthesis and degradation of these key phytohormones is discussed in terms of its importance for normal plant growth. Genes involved in the biosynthesis and regulation of these phytohormones can be used to develop effective strategies to increase grain yield. Genetic manipulation of phytohormone-related gene expression is thus a practical strategy to generate high-yielding transgenic plants through the modification of levels and profile of endogenous phytohormones.

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