Plant Reproduction

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 237–251 | Cite as

Control of grain size in rice

  • Na Li
  • Ran Xu
  • Penggen Duan
  • Yunhai LiEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Seed Biology

Key message

Summary of rice grain size.


Rice is one of the most important crops in the world. Increasing rice yield has been an urgent need to support the rapid growth of global population. The size of grains is one of major components determining rice yield; thus, grain size has been an essential target during rice breeding. Understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms of grain size control can provide new strategies for yield improvement in rice. In general, the final size of rice grains is coordinately controlled by cell proliferation and cell expansion in the spikelet hull, which sets the storage capacity of the grain and limits grain filling. Recent studies have identified several quantitative trait loci and a number of genes as key grain size regulators. These regulators are involved in G protein signaling, the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway, the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway, phytohormone signalings, or transcriptional regulation. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on grain size control in rice and discuss the genetic and molecular mechanisms of these grain size regulators.


Rice Grain size Grain length Grain width Grain yield 



We apologize to our colleagues whose work is not covered in this review due to limited space. This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Agriculture of China (Grant 2016ZX08009-003), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grants 2016YFD0100501), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 91535203; 31425004; 31771340; 31571742; 31400249), and the Strategic Priority Research Program Molecular Mechanism of Plant Growth and Development’ of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant XDPB0401).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Institute of Genetics and Developmental BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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