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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Alternative Splicing Variation: Accessing and Exploiting in Crop Improvement Programs

Dwivedi, Sangam L.; Quiroz, Luis Felipe; Reddy, Anireddy S. N.; Spillane, Charles; Ortiz Rios, Rodomiro Octavio


Alternative splicing (AS) is a gene regulatory mechanism modulating gene expression in multiple ways. AS is prevalent in all eukaryotes including plants. AS generates two or more mRNAs from the precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) to regulate transcriptome complexity and proteome diversity. Advances in next-generation sequencing, omics technology, bioinformatics tools, and computational methods provide new opportunities to quantify and visualize AS-based quantitative trait variation associated with plant growth, development, reproduction, and stress tolerance. Domestication, polyploidization, and environmental perturbation may evolve novel splicing variants associated with agronomically beneficial traits. To date, pre-mRNAs from many genes are spliced into multiple transcripts that cause phenotypic variation for complex traits, both in model plant Arabidopsis and field crops. Cataloguing and exploiting such variation may provide new paths to enhance climate resilience, resource-use efficiency, productivity, and nutritional quality of staple food crops. This review provides insights into AS variation alongside a gene expression analysis to select for novel phenotypic diversity for use in breeding programs. AS contributes to heterosis, enhances plant symbiosis (mycorrhiza and rhizobium), and provides a mechanistic link between the core clock genes and diverse environmental clues.


alternative splicing; biological rhythms; domestication and polyploidization; gene mining; heterosis; nutrient homeostasis; plant phenology and architecture; symbiosis; transcriptome and proteome diversity

Published in

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
2023, Volume: 24, number: 20, article number: 15205

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Genetics and Breeding
    Plant Biotechnology

    Publication identifier


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