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When plants emerged from their aquatic origins to colonise land, they needed to avoid desiccation while still enabling gas and water exchange with the environment. The solution was the development of a waxy cuticle interrupted by epidermal pores, known as stomata. Despite the importance of stomata in plant physiology and their contribution to global water and carbon cycles, our knowledge of the genetic basis of stomatal development is limited mostly to the model dicot, Arabidopsis thaliana. This limitation is particularly troublesome when evaluating grasses, whose members represent our most agriculturally significant crops. Grass stomatal development follows a trajectory strikingly different from Arabidopsis and their uniquely shaped four-celled stomatal complexes are especially responsive to environmental inputs. Thus, understanding the development and regulation of these efficient complexes is of particular interest for the purposes of crop engineering. This review focuses on genetic regulation of grass stomatal development and prospects for the future, highlighting discoveries enabled by parallel comparative investigations in cereal crops and related genetic model species such as Brachypodium distachyon. © 2020 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2020 New Phytologist Trust.


Katelyn H McKown, Dominique C Bergmann. Stomatal development in the grasses: lessons from models and crops (and crop models). The New phytologist. 2020 Sep;227(6):1636-1648

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PMID: 31985072

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