Cytokinin in rice

The rice plant feeds more than half the world, and it is also a great model system for studying the basic biology of cereal crops.  This project investigates how cytokinin hormones in rice affect rice plant productivity.

The grain-producing organ in rice is called a panicle, which consists of a central stem with many primary and secondary branches. Branches produce many flowers, which developed into seeds – the rice grain.  Thus, the number and size of branches controls the number of flowers and thus rice grains produced per plant.

Cytokinin helps to regulate the number of flowers that form on the rice panicle as well as the size of rice grains.  Since 2011, we have been working with the groups of Joe Kieber (UNC Chapel Hill) and Eric Schaller (Dartmouth) to find out how cytokinin hormones regulate productivity of the rice plant.