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  1. Grass inflorescence branching involves the integration of competing signals that regulate leaf and meristem growth.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 17, 2023
  2. Abstract Inflorescence architecture in cereal crops directly impacts yield potential through regulation of seed number and harvesting ability. Extensive architectural diversity found in inflorescences of grass species is due to spatial and temporal activity and determinacy of meristems, which control the number and arrangement of branches and flowers, and underlie plasticity. Timing of the floral transition is also intimately associated with inflorescence development and architecture, yet little is known about the intersecting pathways and how they are rewired during development. Here, we show that a single mutation in a gene encoding an AP1/FUL-like MADS-box transcription factor significantly delays flowering time and disrupts multiple levels of meristem determinacy in panicles of the C4 model panicoid grass, Setaria viridis. Previous reports of AP1/FUL-like genes in cereals have revealed extensive functional redundancy, and in panicoid grasses, no associated inflorescence phenotypes have been described. In S. viridis, perturbation of SvFul2, both through chemical mutagenesis and gene editing, converted a normally determinate inflorescence habit to an indeterminate one, and also repressed determinacy in axillary branch and floral meristems. Our analysis of gene networks connected to disruption of SvFul2 identified regulatory hubs at the intersection of floral transition and inflorescence determinacy, providing insights into the optimizationmore »of cereal crop architecture.« less