A number of plant features and traits, such as overall plant architecture, leaf structure and morphological features, vascular architecture and flowering time are important determinants of photosynthetic efficiency and hence the overall performance of crop plants. The optimization of such developmental traits thus has great potential to increase biomass and crop yield. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of these developmental traits in crop plants, summarizing their genetic regulation and highlighting the potential of manipulating these traits for crop improvement. We also briefly review the effects of domestication on the developmental features of crop plants. Finally, we discuss the potential of functional genomics-based approaches to optimize plant developmental traits to increase yield.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
J.M. and J.B. are supported by a research fellowship from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India. A.R. is a recipient of a Ramalingaswamy Fellowship from the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India.