About this Research Topic
Population growth, climate change and global economic development are placing new demands on global food production systems. This comes at a time when yield increases are beginning to plateau in many major crops such as wheat and rice. Thus plant scientists must take an aggressive approach to enhancing and stabilizing plant yields in our major and minor cereal crops. This Research Topic addresses the use of Setaria species as a genetic model system to characterize and understand genetic networks that can be manipulated to improve the performance of closely related panicoid crop species (e.g. millets, maize, sugarcane, sorghum, Miscanthus, and switchgrass). We emphasize ways to accelerate the translation process from the discovery of genes that control plant form, grain production and stress tolerance through the development of methods and techniques that can be used to improve the breeding process.
Panicoid grasses include some of the world’s most important food, feed, and bioenergy crops. For instance, foxtail millet (Setaria italica) is grown world-wide and provides critical food security in many hot and arid regions of China, India, and Africa. Green foxtail (Setaria viridis) is a wild cross-compatible relative of foxtail millet, and a rapidly emerging model system for molecular genetic studies of grasses. The use of Setaria for gene discovery and breeding will have its biggest impact in the development of new varieties of panicoid crops which share the most anatomical, biochemical and physiological characters with Setaria among the grasses. The availability of Setaria germplasm, mapping populations, and full genome sequence will continue to drive genetic studies to investigate the basis of agronomically important traits, such as root, shoot and inflorescence development and abiotic and biotic stress tolerance. In addition, Setaria species are good models to investigate processes such as C4 photosynthesis, mycorrhizal symbiosis and grain development that are absent in Arabidopsis thaliana. The ability to cross the domesticated form of Setaria with the wild species also provides opportunities to genetically dissect the domestication process. Finally, recent advances in genetic transformation technologies and genome editing in S. viridis have paved the way for engineering metabolic pathways via synthetic biology approaches. The challenge for Setaria research is now to accelerate the translation of basic discoveries into crop improvement.
This Research Topic welcomes manuscripts that address the translation of basic discoveries into crop improvement through the use of new genetic tools and resources in Setaria species. We particularly welcome studies that tackle the ways to accelerate this process. This includes studies addressing the following topics:
- C4 photosynthesis, mycorrhizal associations, and grain filling
- Abiotic and biotic stress tolerance
- Inflorescence, root and shoot development
We welcome the following article types: Original Research, Reviews/Mini-Reviews, Technical Reports, and Perspectives.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.