Challenges of Translating Gene Regulatory Information into Agronomic Improvements

Nathan Springer, Natalia de León, Erich Grotewold

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Improvement of agricultural species has exploited the genetic variation responsible for complex quantitative traits. Much of the functional variation is regulatory, in cis-regulatory elements and trans-acting factors that ultimately contribute to gene expression differences. However, the identification of gene regulatory network components that, when modulated, will increase plant productivity or resilience, is challenging, yet essential to provide increased predictive power for genome engineering approaches that are likely to benefit useful traits. Here, we discuss the opportunities and limitations of using data obtained from gene coexpression, transcription factor binding, and genome-wide association mapping analyses to predict regulatory interactions that impact crop improvement. It is apparent that a combination of information from these data types is necessary for the reliable identification and utilization of important regulatory interactions that underlie complex agronomic traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1082
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • GWAS
  • gene expression
  • gene regulatory network
  • transcription factor
  • variation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

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