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Title: How can we make plants grow faster? A source–sink perspective on growth rate

Growth is a major component of fitness in all organisms, an important mediator of competitive interactions in plant communities, and a central determinant of yield in crops. Understanding what limits plant growth is therefore of fundamental importance to plant evolution, ecology, and crop science, but each discipline views the process from a different perspective. This review highlights the importance of source–sink interactions as determinants of growth. The evidence for source- and sink-limitation of growth, and the ways in which regulatory molecular feedback systems act to maintain an appropriate source:sink balance, are first discussed. Evidence clearly shows that future increases in crop productivity depend crucially on a quantitative understanding of the extent to which sources or sinks limit growth, and how this changes during development. In addition, to identify bottlenecks limiting growth and yield, a holistic view of growth is required at the whole-plant scale, incorporating mechanistic interactions between physiology, resource allocation, and plant development. Such a holistic perspective on source–sink interactions will allow the development of a more integrated, whole-system level understanding of growth, with benefits across multiple disciplines.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Sheffield (United Kingdom). Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Biological, Environmental and Climate Sciences Department
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-0957; R&D Project: 2016-BNL-EE630EECA-Budg; KP1701000
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Experimental Botany
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 67; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-0957
Oxford University Press
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; carbon; crops; models; nitrogen; plant growth; regulation; sink; source
OSTI Identifier: