An ethylene biosynthesis enzyme controls quantitative variation in maize ear length and kernel yield.

Ning, Qiang, Jian, Yinan, Du, Yanfang, Li, Yunfu, Shen, Xiaomeng, Jia, Haitao, Zhao, Ran, Zhan, Jimin, Yang, Fang, Jackson, David, Liu, Lei, Zhang, Zuxin (October 2021) An ethylene biosynthesis enzyme controls quantitative variation in maize ear length and kernel yield. Nature Communications, 12 (1). p. 5832. ISSN 2041-1723

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DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-26123-z


Maize ear size and kernel number differ among lines, however, little is known about the molecular basis of ear length and its impact on kernel number. Here, we characterize a quantitative trait locus, qEL7, to identify a maize gene controlling ear length, flower number and fertility. qEL7 encodes 1-aminocyclopropane-1- carboxylate oxidase2 (ACO2), a gene that functions in the final step of ethylene biosynthesis and is expressed in specific domains in developing inflorescences. Confirmation of qEL7 by gene editing of ZmACO2 leads to a reduction in ethylene production in developing ears, and promotes meristem and flower development, resulting in a ~13.4% increase in grain yield per ear in hybrids lines. Our findings suggest that ethylene serves as a key signal in inflorescence development, affecting spikelet number, floral fertility, ear length and kernel number, and also provide a tool to improve grain productivity by optimizing ethylene levels in maize or in other cereals.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > plant > maize
organism description > plant behavior > crop yield improvement
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Jackson lab
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 5 October 2021
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 18:20
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 18:20
PMCID: PMC8492687

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