Manipulating Resource Allocation in Plants

J Exp Bot. 2012 May;63(9):3391-400. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err442. Epub 2012 Jan 30.


The distribution of nutrients and assimilates in different organs and tissues is in a constant state of flux throughout the growth and development of a plant. At key stages during the life cycle profound changes occur, and perhaps one of the most critical of these is during seed filling. By restricting the competition for reserves in Arabidopsis plants, the ability to manipulate seed size, seed weight, or seed content has been explored. Removal of secondary inflorescences and lateral branches resulted in a stimulation of elongation of the primary inflorescence and an increase in the distance between siliques. The pruning treatment also led to the development of longer and larger siliques that contained fewer, bigger seeds. This seems to be a consequence of a reduction in the number of ovules that develop and an increase in the fatty acid content of the seeds that mature. The data show that shoot architecture could have a substantial impact on the partitioning of reserves between vegetative and reproductive tissues and could be an important trait for selection in rapid phenotyping screens to optimize crop performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breeding
  • Crops, Agricultural / growth & development
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism
  • Plant Development*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / metabolism