Florets of cereal crops are the basic reproductive organs that produce grains for food or feed. The birth of a floret progresses through meristem initiation and floral organ identity specification and maintenance. During these processes, both endogenous and external cues can trigger a premature floral organ death, leading to reproductive failure. Recent advances in different cereal crops have identified both conserved and distinct regulators governing the birth of a floret. However, the molecular underpinnings of floral death are just beginning to be understood. In this review, we first provide a general overview of the current findings in the field of floral development in major cereals and outline different forms of floral deaths, particularly in the Triticeae crops. We then highlight the importance of vascular patterning and photosynthesis in floral development and reproductive success and argue for an expanded knowledge of floral birth–death balance in the context of agroecology.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 75 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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