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Morphological and Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Awn Development in Monocotyledonous Grasses

State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems, Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730020, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(8), 573;
Received: 3 July 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 28 July 2019 / Published: 30 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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The identification of biological mechanisms underlying the development of complex quantitative traits, including those that contribute to plant architecture, yield and quality potential, and seed dispersal, is a major focus in the evolutionary biology and plant breeding. The awn, a bristle-like extension from the lemma in the floret, is one of the distinct morphological and physiological traits in grass species. Awns are taught as an evolutionary trait assisting seed dispersal and germination and increasing photosynthesis. Awn development seems to be complex process, involving dramatic phenotypic and molecular changes. Although recent advances investigated the underlying morphological and molecular genetic factors of awn development, there is little agreement about how these factors interact during awn formation and how this interaction affects variation of awn morphology. Consequently, the developmental sequence of the awn is not yet well understood. Here, we review awn morphological and histological features, awn development pathways, and molecular processes of awn development. We argue that morphological and molecular genetic mechanisms of awn development previously studied in major cereal crops, such as barley, wheat, and rice, offered intriguing insights helping to characterize this process in a comparative approach. Applying such an approach will aid to deeply understand factors involved in awn development in grass species. View Full-Text
Keywords: awns; morphology; histology; genetic basis; awn development; grasses awns; morphology; histology; genetic basis; awn development; grasses

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Ntakirutimana, F.; Xie, W. Morphological and Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Awn Development in Monocotyledonous Grasses. Genes 2019, 10, 573.

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