Next-generation strategies for understanding and influencing source-sink relations in crop plants.
Sonnewald U, Fernie AR (2018)
Whether plants are source or sink limited, that is, whether carbon assimilation or rather assimilate usage is ultimately responsible for crop yield, has been the subject of intense debate over several decades. Here we provide a short review of this debate before focusing on the use of transgenic intervention as a means to influence yield by modifying either source or sink function (or both). Given the relatively low success rates of strategies targeting single genes we highlight the success of multi- target transformations. The emergence of whole plant models and the potential impact that these will have in aiding yield improvement strategies are then discussed. We end by providing our perspective for next generation strategies for improving crop plants by means of manipulating their source-sink relations.