Shengming Yang: Plant Direct First Author

Shengming Yang, first author of “A SQUAMOSA promoter binding protein-like transcription factor controls crop ideotype for high productivity in barley”

Current Position: Research Geneticist in USDA-ARS

Education: B.S. from Shandong Agricultural University, China; M.S. from Shandong Agricultural University, China; Ph. D. from University of Kentucky

Non-scientific Interests: Playing with kids, brewing, and travel.

Brief bio: Dr. Yang is a Research Scientist in the Cereal Crops Research Unit of USDA which locates in Fargo, North Dakota. His research interests focus on genetic analysis of development and disease resistance in barley. In the present study, Dr. Yang, Miss Megan Overland-Chen, and their colleagues cloned the barley Liguleless 1 (Lig1) gene which regulates the laminal joint development. Lig1 encodes a plant-specific SQUAMOSA Promoter-Binding Protein-Like (SPL) transcription factor, HvSPL8, which is orthologous to ZmLg1 and TaSPL8 identified in maize and wheat, respectively. Although it is not a target for miR156, HvSPL8 is involved in reproductive phase transition. The lig1 mutation disrupted the development of auricle and ligure in barley, leading to erect leaves and compact architecture suitable for dense planting. Gene expression analysis suggested that Lig1 may regulate leaf angle through the auxin signaling pathway. Therefore, cloning of Lig1 provides a target for gene manipulation to improve barley grain yield especially under dense planting conditions.