Stabilization of yield in plant genotype mixtures through compensation rather than complementation

Henry E. Creissen, Tove H. Jorgensen, James K. M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aims
Plant genotypic mixtures have the potential to increase yield stability in variable, often unpredictable environments, yet knowledge of the specific mechanisms underlying enhanced yield stability remains limited. Field studies are constrained by environmental conditions which cannot be fully controlled and thus reproduced. A suitable model system would allow reproducible experiments on processes operating within crop genetic mixtures.

Phenotypically dissimilar genotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana were grown in monocultures and mixtures under high levels of competition for abiotic resources. Seed production, flowering time and rosette size were recorded.

Key Results
Mixtures achieved high yield stability across environments through compensatory interactions. Compensation was greatest when plants were under high levels of heat and nutrient stress. Competitive ability and mixture performance were predictable from above-ground phenotypic traits even though below-ground competition appeared to be more intense.

This study indicates that the mixing ability of plant genotypes can be predicted from their phenotypes expressed in a range of relevant environments, and implies that a phenotypic screen of genotypes could improve the selection of suitable components of genotypic mixtures in agriculture intended to be resilient to environmental stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1447
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals Of Botany
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


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