Provided are methods for decreasing carbon flow into lignin in plants, comprising reducing or eliminating, using mutagenesis and/or recombinant means, expression and/or activity of at least one chloroplast-localized arogenate dehydratase (ADT) sufficient to reduce phenylalanine (Phe) availability for metabolism into Phe-derived phenylpropanoids, wherein the amount, level or distribution of lignin is reduced relative to control plants. In particular aspects, the plant has a plurality of chloroplast-localized ADTs, and reducing or eliminating comprises reducing or eliminating expression and/or activity of at least two of the plurality of ADTs. Also provided are recombinant plants or parts or cells thereof, comprising at least one mutation, genetic alteration or transgene that reduces or eliminates the expression and/or activity of at least one chloroplast-localized ADT, wherein the amount, level or distribution of lignin is reduced relative to normal. Further provided are reduced lignin plant products.
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