Alleles at the OsSPL14 gene alter rice plant architecture and enhance grain yield in rice, according to two independent studies published online this week in Nature Genetics. In small numbers of test rice plots, favorably altered alleles of OsSPL14 led to approximately a 10% increase in grain yield.
It is thought that crop yields need to double by 2050 in order to adequately feed the world's growing population. Identification of genetic variants that can enhance crop production is an important approach toward this problem.
The findings from two independent studies by Jiayang Li, Moto Ashikari and their respective colleagues suggest that OsSPL14 may be useful for increasing rice crop production.