The flag leaf is the last to emerge, indicating the transition from crop growth to grain production. Photosynthesis in this leaf provides the majority of the carbohydrates needed for grain filling—so it is the most important leaf for yield potential. A team of researchers found that some flag leaves of different varieties of rice transform light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates better than others. This finding could potentially open new opportunities for breeding higher yielding rice varieties.
A new global study reveals the extent to which high-yielding rice varieties favored in the decades since the “Green Revolution” have a propensity to go feral, turning a staple food crop into a weedy scourge.
A team of researcher examined how 14 rice diverse varieties photosynthesize—the process by which all crops convert sunlight energy into sugars that ultimately become our food. Looking at a little-studied attribute of photosynthesis, they found small differences in photosynthetic efficiency under constant conditions, but a 117 percent difference in fluctuating light, suggesting a new trait for rice breeder selection.