Cereal architecture and its manipulation

Laura E. Dixon, Wilma van Esse, Dominique Hirsz, Viola Willemsen, Sarah M. McKim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
100 Downloads (Pure)


Our lives depend on an incredibly small number of cereal species whose grain provides more calories to our diet than any other source. The extraordinary productivity of cultivated cereals reflects millennia of selection, recent directed breeding, and modern agricultural practices. Here, we examine selected architectural and agronomic features of major cereal body parts: leaf, branch, inflorescence, stem and root; and discuss how their manipulation enhanced crop performance. Highlighting synergistic research across laboratory models and field-based systems, we consider how diversified molecular circuitry, novel regulators and conserved components of genetic, hormonal and molecular mechanisms control cereal architecture. Lastly, we emphasise the agricultural importance of developmental decisions during cereal growth and propose future perspectives for robust architectural improvement, made ever more urgent by our accelerating climate crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberapr0648
Pages (from-to)1-54
Number of pages54
JournalAnnual Plant Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022


  • cereal
  • architecture
  • development
  • grain yield,
  • crop
  • Genetic selection
  • Plant architecture
  • Development
  • Cereal
  • Agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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