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Crop Science : Just Published


Accepted, edited articles are published here after author proofing to provide rapid publication and better access to the newest crop science research. Articles are compiled into bimonthly issues at, which includes the complete archive. Citation | Articles posted here are considered published and may be cited by the doi.

Example: Lorenz, A.J., T.J. Gustafson, J.G. Coors, and N. de Leon. 2009. Breeding Maize for a Bioeconomy: A Literature Survey Examining Harvest Index and Stover Yield and Their Relationship to Grain Yield. Crop Sci., doi: 10.2135/cropsci2009.02.0086.

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Current issue: Crop Sci. 55(3)


    • Mary J. Guttieri, P. Stephen Baenziger, Katherine Frels, Brett Carver, Brian Arnall, Shichen Wang, Eduard Akhunov and Brian M. Waters
      Prospects for Selecting Wheat with Increased Zinc and Decreased Cadmium Concentration in Grain

      Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a primary staple cereal and significant source of mineral nutrients in human diets. Therefore, increasing concentration of the essential mineral, Zn, and decreasing concentration of the toxic mineral, Cd, could significantly improve human health. Because plant mechanisms for uptake and translocation of Cd and Zn are related, we assessed both Cd and Zn concentration to evaluate their independence in hard winter wheat germplasm. Grain Cd concentrations of some genotypes grown in Nebraska trials were above the Codex guidance level (0.2 mg kg–1), and highly repeatable differences in grain Cd were found between pairs of low and moderate-Cd commercial cultivars. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Brian K. Pfeiffer and William L. Rooney
      Sunlight Induces Black Color and Increases Flavonoid Levels in the Grain of Sorghum Line Tx3362

      The grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.] line ‘Tx3362’ has a uniformly black pericarp color when produced under summer production conditions and it also contains high levels of 3-deoxyanthocyanidins (3-DOAs) in the bran layers of the grain. Consequently, Tx3362 has high levels of antioxidant activity and is a source of natural pigmentation that can be used as natural food coloring. However, prior research indicates that the black color is not fully penetrant in all environments. Specifically, black sorghum panicles shaded from sunlight between flowering and physiological maturity are dark red in color. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015

    • M.J. Morrison, E.R. Cober, J.A. Frégeau-Reid and P. Seguin
      Changes in Lutein and Tocopherol Concentrations in Soybean Cultivars Released Across Seven Decades in the Short-Season Region

      Lutein and α-tocopherol (α-toc) are antioxidant compounds beneficial for human health. Soybean [Glycine max (L). Merr.] contains relatively high concentrations of these compounds, and increasing them through plant breeding may be beneficial to human nutrition as well as provide a marketable seed trait in food-type soybean. Our objective was to determine if there have been changes in lutein and tocopherol concentrations in short-season soybean cultivars. (continued)

      Published: February 3, 2015


    • Brigid Meints, Alfonso Cuesta-Marcos, Andrew S. Ross, Scott Fisk, Teepakorn Kongraksawech, Juliet M. Marshall, Kevin Murphy and Patrick M. Hayes
      Developing Winter Food Barley for the Pacific Northwest of the US

      Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) has been cultivated for human consumption for millennia. However, most North Americans do not regularly consume barley as a foodstuff. In the last decade, there has been renewed interest in barley production for human consumption. A number of quality traits are used to estimate nutritional value and are useful for food processing. (continued)

      Published: May 22, 2015

    • Shannon R. M. Pinson, Yueguang Wang and Rodante E. Tabien
      Mapping and Validation of Quantitative Trait Loci Associated with Tiller Production in Rice

      An increase in early tiller production is desired in rice (Oryza sativa L.) to increase yield potential and enhance ability to shade and suppress weeds. Unfortunately, tiller production and survival are sensitive to many environmental cues, making tillering pattern a difficult trait to reliably evaluate in field plots. The present objective was to use pot-grown plants where seeding depth and the environment could be controlled to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with rate of seedling development (seedling leaf number, SLN) and tiller production (tiller number, TN) as well as the node from which the first tiller originated (N1T). The QTLs were identified in two related mapping populations, the first being a set of 280 ‘Lemont’ × ‘TeQing’ recombinant inbred lines (RILs) observed over four trials, in which nine QTLs associated with TN, three for SLN, and two for N1T were detected. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Suchismita Mondal, Ravi P. Singh, Julio Huerta-Espino, Zakaria Kehel and Enrique Autrique
      Characterization of Heat- and Drought-Stress Tolerance in High-Yielding Spring Wheat

      Unpredictable temperature and rainfall patterns have increased global concerns about sustaining current levels of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production. Although many international breeding programs are focused on developing high-temperature and drought-stress tolerant wheat varieties, changing weather patterns has increased the need to develop widely adaptable wheat varieties. Research was conducted to identify the potential resilience of spring wheat lines to heat and drought stresses and to define phenotypic and physiological traits that are associated with stress adaptation. A trial consisting of 28 newly developed spring wheat lines and two checks was tested under optimal, heat-, and drought-stress conditions for 2 yr in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Nino Brown, C. Wayne Smith, Steve Hague, Dick Auld, Eric Hequet, Kolbyn Joy and Don Jones
      Within-Boll Yield Characteristics and Their Correlation with Fiber Quality Parameters following Mutagenesis of Upland Cotton, TAM 94L-25

      Limited genetic diversity could be contributing to the limited genetic gains in upland cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., fiber lengths and strengths. Smith and Coyle (1997) reported negative associations between many fiber quality traits and the number of fibers per unit surface area of seed (FSSA), the most basic lint yield component. The objective of this study was to determine if mutagenesis could be used to modify the associations of within-boll yield components and fiber quality parameters. TAM 94L-25 (Smith, 2003) (PI 631440) seeds were treated with 3% v/v ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS). (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Reena Sellamuthu, Chandrababu Ranganathan and Rachid Serraj
      Mapping QTLs for Reproductive-Stage Drought Resistance Traits using an Advanced Backcross Population in Upland Rice

      The reproductive stage of development is the most drought sensitive, and water deficits at that time can lead to a drastic yield reduction in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Understanding the genetic and physiological bases of yield and yield components under reproductive-stage drought stress will help in the development of resilient cultivars. A population of backcross inbred lines derived from upland cultivars Apo and Moroberekan was used for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with grain yield and other yield-related traits under reproductive stage drought stress and irrigated (nonstress) conditions in the field. Reproductive traits affect grain yield directly and indirectly in both irrigated and drought conditions. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Meixia Li, Zhulin Wang, Ziying Liang, Weinan Shen, Fengli Sun, Yajun Xi and Shudong Liu
      Quantitative Trait Loci Analysis for Kernel-Related Characteristics in Common Wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.)

      This study aimed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 1000-kernel weight (TKW), kernel size (KZ), and kernel shape (KS), using F2 and F2:3 populations derived from a cross between lines ‘0911–46’ and ‘42’. F2:3 grown in two different environments and two parents and F2 plants grown in one environment were phenotyped and genotyped for TKW, KZ including kernel length, kernel width and kernel thickness; and KS (ratios of kernel width/kernel length and kernel thickness/kernel length). Quantitative trait locus investigation was conducted based on a linkage map with 176 simple sequence repeat markers by composite interval mapping. A total of 53 QTLs (logarithm of odds ≥ 3) were identified on 13 chromosomes for six evaluated traits. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015

    • Bullo Erena Mamo and Brian J. Steffenson
      Genome-wide Association Mapping of Fusarium Head Blight Resistance and Agromorphological Traits in Barley Landraces from Ethiopia and Eritrea

      Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused primarily by Fusarium graminearum, is an important disease of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and other cereals. In barley, the genetic basis of FHB resistance has been intensively studied through linkage mapping that identified several quantitative trait loci (QTL). However, our understanding and application of these QTL in breeding is still limited due to the complex nature and low-to-moderate heritability of FHB resistance. Previous studies used either breeding lines, unimproved varieties, or germplasm selections. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015

    • Tadele T. Kumssa, P.S. Baenziger, M.N. Rouse, M. Guttieri, I. Dweikat, G. Brown-Guedira, S. Williamson, R.A. Graybosch, S.N. Wegulo, A.J. Lorenz and J. Poland
      Characterization of Stem Rust Resistance in Wheat Cultivar Gage

      Wheat (Triticum spp.) stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici Eriks. and E. (continued)

      Published: February 3, 2015


    • Hong Zhao, Binfeng Sun, Fei Lu, Guo Zhang, Xiaoke Wang and Zhiyun Ouyang
      Straw Incorporation Strategy on Cereal Crop Yield in China

      Straw incorporation (SI) is considered a valid agricultural measure for ameliorating soil quality and sequestrating soil C. This study aimed to quantitatively summarize the response of cereal yield to SI management. Our results showed that compared with straw removal, SI could significantly enhance cereal yield by 7% over all of China across the 9-yr period. In all regions, SI in coarse-textured soils increased yields more than in fine-textured soils. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Giulio Testa, Amedeo Reyneri and Massimo Blandino
      Foliar Fungicide Application to Maize: Yield and Grain Hardness Enhancement in Different Environmental Conditions

      The dry-milling industry is becoming an interesting distribution channel for maize (Zea mays L.) growers. Since kernels with high hardness are more suitable for the dry-milling process, it is important to investigate new ways of improving for this qualitative parameter. The aim of the research was to evaluate when a fungicide containing a demethylation inhibitor and a quinone outside inhibitor could be effective in controlling fungal disease, increasing grain yield, and improving kernel hardness. A mixture of azoxystrobin and propiconazole was tested at two locations from 2009 to 2012, with two application timings: the beginning of stem elongation and at tassel emergence. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015


    • Sasmita Mishra, Scott Heckathorn and Charles Krause
      The Levels of Boron-Uptake Proteins in Roots are Correlated with Tolerance to Boron Stress in Barley

      Boron (B) is an essential micronutrient required for plant growth and development. Recently, two major B-uptake proteins, BOR1 and NIP5;1, have been identified and partially characterized. BOR1 is a high-affinity B transporter involved in xylem loading in roots, and NIP5;1 is a major boric-acid channel in the plasma membrane. The aim of the present study was to determine if plant tolerance to B stress (deficiency or toxicity) is correlated with natural levels of B-uptake proteins in roots. (continued)

      Published: May 22, 2015

    • K. A. B. Aisawi, M. P. Reynolds, R. P. Singh and M. J. Foulkes
      The Physiological Basis of the Genetic Progress in Yield Potential of CIMMYT Spring Wheat Cultivars from 1966 to 2009

      Our objective was to investigate the physiological basis of genetic progress in grain yield in CIMMYT spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars developed from 1966 to 2009 in irrigated, high-potential conditions. Field experiments were conducted during three growing seasons in northwest Mexico (2008–2009, 2009–2010, and 2010–2011) examining 12 historic CIMMYT semidwarf spring wheat cultivars released from 1966 to 2009. The linear rate of genetic gain in grain yield was 30 kg ha−1 yr−1 (0.59% yr−1; R2 = 0.58, P = 0.01). Grain yield progress was associated with increased aboveground dry matter (AGDM) at harvest (R2 = 0.80, P < 0.001) and heavier grain weight (R2 = 0.46, P < 0.05). (continued)

      Published: May 22, 2015

    • S. Liu, M. Remley, F. M. Bourland, R. L. Nichols, W. E. Stevens, A. Phillips Jones and F. B. Fritschi
      Early Vigor of Advanced Breeding Lines and Modern Cotton Cultivars

      Stand establishment and early vigor are critical to the successful production of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Rapid early growth could provide significant advantages to young plants relative to diseases, insects, and weeds. The objectives of this research were to identify traits that contribute to differences in early growth, characterize genotypic variation in early vigor among modern cultivars and advanced breeding lines, and determine the effect of the seed production environment on early vigor. Early growth of 10 genotypes from private companies and 18 unreleased breeding lines was compared through measurements of leaf area and biomass under field conditions in 2 yr. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015


    • Ana B. Wingeyer, John A. Guretzky, Walter H. Schacht and Terry J. Klopfenstein
      Reduced Nitrogen Mineralization and Litter Decomposition in Unfertilized Smooth Bromegrass Pastures

      Nitrogen fertilization has been shown to affect herbage accumulation, litter deposition, litter N return, and presence of weeds in smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.) pastures. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of pasture management strategies that varied amount and form of N input on soil N mineralization, litter decomposition, and litter N release in smooth bromegrass pasture. Management strategies included: (i) nitrogen-fertilized pasture grazed with unsupplemented beef cattle (FERT); (ii) unfertilized pasture grazed with unsupplemented beef cattle (CONT); and (iii) unfertilized pasture grazed with dried distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS)-supplemented beef cattle (SUPP). After 210 d of aerobic soil incubation, cumulative soil N mineralization was 155.1 ± 9.8, 170.5 ± 15.6, and 180.2 ± 13.8 mg N kg–1 soil for CONT, SUPP, and FERT pastures, respectively, which represented a supply of 254, 279, and 294 kg N ha–1 for the 0- to 15-cm soil depth, respectively. (continued)

      Published: May 22, 2015


    • Helder Anderson P. Da Silva, Sarah Muniz Nardeli, Marcio Alves-Ferreira and Jean Luiz Simões-Araújo
      Evaluation of Reference Genes for RT-qPCR Normalization in Cowpea under Drought Stress during Biological Nitrogen Fixation

      Reverse transcription–quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) has emerged as an important technique for gene-expression analysis. However, for accurate and reliable results, the data normalization using appropriated reference genes is critical, and a systematic validation of reference genes in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp), a high stress-tolerant leguminous, has not been performed. To provide suitable reference genes in this strategic leguminous species under drought stress, we evaluated the expression stability of eight candidate genes using geNorm and NormFinder algorithms. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015


    • Siri Fjellheim, Pirjo Tanhuanpää, Petter Marum, Outi Manninen and Odd Arne Rognli
      Phenotypic or Molecular Diversity Screening for Conservation of Genetic Resources? An Example from a Genebank Collection of the Temperate Forage Grass Timothy

      Genebanks around the world represent a large source of genetic variation in both wild and crop species and may prove invaluable in the future. However, much of this is uncharacterized and this hampers both management and utilization, specifically of wild species and minor crops. In this paper we study a large genebank collection of wild populations of the cool-season forage grass timothy (Phleum pratense L.) to investigate different methods for characterization and their implications for conservation. Populations covering the entire geographic distribution range of timothy were analyzed for simple-sequence repeats (SSRs), chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequence, and phenotypic variation in 14 morphological and phenological characters. (continued)

      Published: May 22, 2015

    • Jong-Hyun Chae, Bo-Keun Ha, Gyuhwa Chung, Ju-Eun Park, Euiho Park, Jong-Min Ko, J. Grover Shannon, Jong Tae Song and Jeong-Dong Lee
      Identification of Environmentally Stable Wild Soybean Genotypes with High Alpha-Linolenic Acid Concentration

      Increasing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr] seed oil is an important breeding goal in soybean because of its beneficial effects on human health. Seed oil of wild soybeans (G. soja Sieb. & Zucc.) generally has about twice the ALA concentration than seed oil from cultivated soybeans. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015

    • Byron L. Burson, K. Renganayaki, Charlie D. Dowling, Lori L. Hinze and Russell W. Jessup
      Genetic Diversity among Pentaploid Buffelgrass Accessions

      Buffelgrass [Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link (syn. Cenchrus ciliaris L.)], an important pasture and range grass in the arid semi-tropics and tropics, has excellent drought-tolerance but lacks winter hardiness. It is a polymorphic, apomictic species and its most common chromosome number is 2n = 4x = 36. Eighty-six pentaploid (2n = 5x = 45) accessions from South Africa were deposited into the USDA National Germplasm System (NPGS) in 1976 and these were more winter-hardy than all tetraploid accessions. (continued)

      Published: May 8, 2015

    • Rajan Sharma, Hari D. Upadhyaya, Shivali Sharma, Vishal L. Gate and Chandramani Raj
      New Sources of Resistance to Multiple Pathotypes of Sclerospora graminicola in the Pearl Millet Mini Core Germplasm Collection

      Downy mildew (DM), caused by Sclerospora graminicola (Sacc.) Schröt., is a highly destructive and widespread disease in most pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] growing areas of Asia and Africa. Breeding for DM resistance continues to be an integral part of genetic improvement of pearl millet at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India. For the identification of new and diverse sources of DM resistance, a pearl millet mini core collection comprising 238 accessions was screened against eight pathotypes (Sg 384, Sg 409, Sg 445, Sg 457, Sg 510, Sg 519, Sg 526, and Sg 542) of S. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015


    • Bingru Huang and Yi Xu
      Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms for Elevated CO 2 –Regulation of Plant Growth and Stress Adaptation

      Increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration have exerted significant impacts on plant growth. Numerous studies have reported positive effects of elevated CO2 on plant growth and adaptation to various environmental stresses in many plant species. The mechanisms by which CO2 enrichment regulates plant growth and stress adaptation are not completely understood. There have been some recent exciting advances in elucidating the cellular, metabolic, and molecular basis for increased growth under elevated CO2. (continued)

      Published: May 15, 2015


    • Claire H. Luby, Jack Kloppenburg, Thomas E. Michaels and Irwin L. Goldman
      Enhancing Freedom to Operate for Plant Breeders and Farmers through Open Source Plant Breeding

      The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) ( seeks to address the dramatic transition over the past 100 yr in how plant germplasm is distributed, developed, and released: from a freely available resource primarily located in the public sector to proprietary structures managed largely by the private sector. OSSI was developed by a group of plant breeders, farmers, seed companies, nonprofit organizations, and policymakers with the goal of promoting and maintaining open access to plant genetic resources worldwide. OSSI seeks to provide an alternative to pervasive intellectual property rights agreements that restrict freedom to use plant germplasm through the development and promulgation of a Pledge which is intended both to raise awareness of these issues and to ensure that germplasm can be freely exchanged now and into the future. In this paper we discuss the historical forces and trends that have led to various types of biological and intellectual property protections and how this has potentially limited plant breeders’ “freedom to operate” and farmers’ sovereignty over seed. (continued)

      Published: May 21, 2015


    • David A. Lightfoot
      Two Decades of Molecular Marker-Assisted Breeding for Resistance to Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome

      Novel tools to improve resistance to sudden death syndrome (SDS) and the underlying Fusarium root rot (FRR) caused by Fusarium virguliforme (Aoki) have been developed for soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Eighteen resistance loci have been identified and confirmed over the past two decades (named Rfs1 to Rfs18). To select the beneficial alleles of 8 to 10 loci per cross needed for optimal resistance is a difficult task for plant breeders. Resistance mechanisms to FRR provide only partial protection. (continued)

      Published: May 22, 2015


    • Christine H. Diepenbrock and Michael A. Gore
      Closing the Divide between Human Nutrition and Plant Breeding

      Improvement of crop nutritional quality through breeding, termed biofortification, is a strategy being used to address micronutrient deficiencies worldwide. These efforts stand to benefit tremendously from recent advances across the plant sciences, from flourishing germplasm and genomic resources and phenotyping tools to improved characterization at the levels of physiology, cell biology, and gene expression. Next steps in crop biofortification in this decade and beyond include adapting high-throughput phenotyping platforms for measurement of nutritional quality traits, testing genome-wide and other DNA marker-based selection strategies that can mine parsimonious answers from large data sets, and further characterizing genotype × environment interactions and post-harvest effects on end nutrition. Also necessary are accompanying considerations of yield and other agronomic traits—in particular, the non-uniform responses of both these and quality traits to climate change across crops, environments, and farming management systems. (continued)

      Published: December 16, 2014

    • Kassa Semagn, Yoseph Beyene, Raman Babu, Sudha Nair, Manje Gowda, Biswanath Das, Amsal Tarekegne, Stephen Mugo, George Mahuku, Mosisa Worku, Marilyn L. Warburton, Mike Olsen and B. M. Prasanna
      Quantitative Trait Loci Mapping and Molecular Breeding for Developing Stress Resilient Maize for Sub-Saharan Africa

      The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in partnership with several public and private institutions, is working to develop and deploy improved maize (Zea mays L.) germplasm that is drought tolerant, nitrogen use efficient (NUE), and disease resistant for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), using conventional pedigree selection and molecular breeding. Here, we provide an overview of the progress made on (i) quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis for drought, NUE, and maize lethal necrosis (MLN); (ii) development of production markers for maize streak virus (MSV) and MLN resistance; and (iii) marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and genomic selection (GS) for developing drought tolerant maize germplasm. We identified several small to moderate effect QTL associated with grain yield and anthesis-silking interval under low N, managed drought, and optimum environments, but only a few small to moderate effect QTL were detected in multiple genetic backgrounds. Thus, CIMMYT is conducting the largest public MARS and GS projects in SSA. (continued)

      Published: December 5, 2014


    • Teresa Donze, Bimal S. Amaradasa, Carol Caha, Tiffany Heng-Moss and Keenan Amundsen
      Molecular Differentiation of Gender in Buffalograss

      Buffalograss [Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm. syn. Bouteloua dactyloides (Nutt.) Columbus] is a warm-season, stoloniferous, perennial grass species native to the Great Plains of North America. Buffalograss is a dioecious species where structural differences can be observed between inflorescences of male and female plants. (continued)

      Published: May 5, 2015

    • B. Shaun Bushman, Scott E. Warnke, Keenan L. Amundsen, Kathleen M. Combs and Paul G. Johnson
      Molecular Markers Highlight Variation within and among Kentucky Bluegrass Varieties and Accessions

      Assessing relationships among germplasm and cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) is limited to field evaluations or a small set of molecular markers. To improve the efficiency of characterizing Kentucky bluegrass cultivars and germplasm, this study was designed to develop a larger set of robust molecular makers and a concise panel of cultivars to assess relationships of Kentucky bluegrass. An extensive library of simple sequence repeat markers was developed and used to assess relationships among and within 24 cultivars and accessions. Plants generally grouped as cultivars in cluster analysis, but molecular outlying plants and phenotypic off-type plants were found in 15 of the entries. (continued)

      Published: February 7, 2014

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