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The importance of the period immediately preceding anthesis for grain weight determination in wheat

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Although individual grain weight is an important source of variation forgrain yield, there is still poor understanding of the causes determining finalgrain weight. Almost all studies conducted for understanding thedeterminants of grain weight have been focused on the post-anthesis period.However, there is important evidence that pre-anthesis conditions couldalso modify final grain weight. Three experiments including different sowingdates, genotypes and temperature regimes between booting and anthesis,were carried out in Argentina and Mexico to analyse the effect oftemperature and associated traits during the pre- and post-anthesis periodson grain weight under field conditions. In these experiments final grainweight could not be explained by average or maximum temperature duringthe post-anthesis period. However, average temperature between bootingand anthesis was closely related to the observed grain weight differences,probably as a consequence of the effects of this factor on carpel growth.Differences in grain weight between genotypes and grain position weresuccessfully explained by differences in carpel weight at anthesis. Theseresults suggest that our knowledge to determine grain weight could improveif the immediately pre-anthesis period conditions were taken into account.

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Calderini, D., Savin, R., Abeledo, L. et al. The importance of the period immediately preceding anthesis for grain weight determination in wheat. Euphytica 119, 199–204 (2001).

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