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Two maize cultivars of contrasting leaf size show different leaf elongation rates with identical patterns of extension dynamics and coordination

Abstract : Simulating leaf development from initiation to maturity opens new possibilities to model plant–environment interactions and the plasticity of plant architecture. This study analyses the dynamics of leaf production and extension along a maize (Zea mays) shoot to assess important modelling choices. Maize plants from two cultivars originating from the same inbred line, yet differing in the length of mature leaves were used in this study. We characterized the dynamics of the blade and sheath lengths of all phytomers by dissecting plants every 2–3 days. We analysed how differences in leaf size were built up and we examined the coordination between the emergence of organs and phases of their extension. Leaf extension rates were higher in the cultivar with longer leaves than in the cultivar with shorter leaves; no differences were found in other aspects. We found that (i) first post-embryonic leaves were initiated at a markedly higher rate than upper leaves; (ii) below ear position, sheaths were initiated at a time intermediate between tip emergence and appearance, while above the ear position, sheaths were initiated at a high rate, such that the time interval between the blade and sheath initiations decreased for these leaves; and (iii) ear position also marked a change in the correlation in size between successive phytomers with little correlation of size between upper and lower leaves. Our results identified leaf extension rate as the reason for the difference in size between the two cultivars. The two cultivars shared the same pattern for the timing of initiation events, which was more complex than previously thought. The differences described here may explain some inaccuracies reported in functional–structural plant models. We speculate that genotypic variation in behaviour for leaf and sheath initiation exists, which has been little documented in former studies.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03322767
Contributor : Marina Pavlidès <>
Submitted on : Thursday, August 19, 2021 - 5:10:43 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, August 21, 2021 - 3:25:54 AM

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Tiphaine Vidal, Hafssa Aissaoui, Sabrina Rehali, Bruno Andrieu. Two maize cultivars of contrasting leaf size show different leaf elongation rates with identical patterns of extension dynamics and coordination. AoB Plants, Oxford University Press 2021, 13 (1), plaa072. ⟨10.1093/aobpla/plaa072⟩. ⟨hal-03322767⟩

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