The metabolic signature related to high plant growth rate in Arabidopsis thaliana

Rhonda C. Meyer, Matthias Steinfath, Jan Lisec, Martina Becher, Hanna Witucka-Wall, Ottó Törjék, Oliver Fiehn, Änne Eckardt, Lothar Willmitzer, Joachim Selbig, Thomas Altmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


The decline of available fossil fuel reserves has triggered worldwide efforts to develop alternative energy sources based on plant biomass. Detailed knowledge of the relations of metabolism and biomass accumulation can be expected to yield powerful novel tools to accelerate and enhance energy plant breeding programs. We used metabolic profiling in the model Arabidopsis to study the relation between biomass and metabolic composition using a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population. A highly significant canonical correlation (0.73) was observed, revealing a close link between biomass and a specific combination of metabolites. Dividing the entire data set into training and test sets resulted in a median correlation between predicted and true biomass of 0.58. The demonstrated high predictive power of metabolic composition for biomass features this composite measure as an excellent biomarker and opens new opportunities to enhance plant breeding specifically in the context of renewable resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4759-4764
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 13 2007


  • Biomarker
  • Biomass
  • Canonical correlation
  • Metabolic profiling
  • Recombinant inbred line population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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