Traits and selection strategies to improve root systems and water uptake in water-limited wheat crops.
ABSTRACT Wheat yields globally will depend increasingly on good management to conserve rainfall and new varieties that use water efficiently for grain production. Here we propose an approach for developing new varieties to make better use of deep stored water. We focus on water-limited wheat production in the summer-dominant rainfall regions of India and Australia, but the approach is generally applicable to other environments and root-based constraints. Use of stored deep water is valuable because it is more predictable than variable in-season rainfall and can be measured prior to sowing. Further, this moisture is converted into grain with twice the efficiently of in-season rainfall since it is taken up later in crop growth during the grain-filling period when the roots reach deeper layers. We propose that wheat varieties with a deeper root system, a redistribution of branch root density from the surface to depth, and with greater radial hydraulic conductivity at depth would have higher yields in rainfed systems where crops rely on deep water for grain fill. Developing selection systems for mature root system traits is challenging as there are limited high-throughput phenotyping methods for roots in the field, and there is a risk that traits selected in the lab on young plants will not translate into mature root system traits in the field. We give an example of a breeding programme that combines laboratory and field phenotyping with proof of concept evaluation of the trait at the beginning of the selection programme. This would greatly enhance confidence in a high-throughput laboratory or field screen, and avoid investment in screens without yield value. This approach requires careful selection of field sites and years that allow expression of deep roots and increased yield. It also requires careful selection and crossing of germplasm to allow comparison of root expression among genotypes that are similar for other traits, especially flowering time and disease and toxicity resistances. Such a programme with field and laboratory evaluation at the outset will speed up delivery of varieties with improved root systems for higher yield.
- SourceAvailable from: Leon V Kochian[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A novel imaging and software platform was developed for the high-throughput phenotyping of three-dimensional root traits during seedling development. To demonstrate the platform's capacity, plants of two rice (Oryza sativa) genotypes, Azucena and IR64, were grown in a transparent gellan gum system and imaged daily for 10 d. Rotational image sequences consisting of 40 two-dimensional images were captured using an optically corrected digital imaging system. Three-dimensional root reconstructions were generated and analyzed using a custom-designed software, RootReader3D. Using the automated and interactive capabilities of RootReader3D, five rice root types were classified and 27 phenotypic root traits were measured to characterize these two genotypes. Where possible, measurements from the three-dimensional platform were validated and were highly correlated with conventional two-dimensional measurements. When comparing gellan gum-grown plants with those grown under hydroponic and sand culture, significant differences were detected in morphological root traits (P < 0.05). This highly flexible platform provides the capacity to measure root traits with a high degree of spatial and temporal resolution and will facilitate novel investigations into the development of entire root systems or selected components of root systems. In combination with the extensive genetic resources that are now available, this platform will be a powerful resource to further explore the molecular and genetic determinants of root system architecture.Plant physiology 03/2011; 156(2):455-65. · 6.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Localizing genes that contribute to drought avoidance in a quantitative way should enable the exploitation of these genes in breeding through marker-assisted selection, and may lead to the discovery of gene identity and function. Between 110 and 176 F6 recombinant inbred lines from a mapping population derived from a cross of upland rice varieties Bala and Azucena have been evaluated for indicators of drought avoidance in sites in the Philippines and West Africa over two dry seasons. A molecular map with 102 RFLP, 34 AFLP and six microsatellite markers has been used to map (by composite interval mapping) quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for the visual scores of leaf rolling and leaf drying and leaf relative water content. QTLs were mapped for each site and across sites. A total of 17 regions were identified which contained QTLs with a LOD score greater than 3.2. For leaf rolling, Bala was the parent contributing the majority of positive alleles whilst for the other traits, Bala and Azucena contributed more evenly. Six of the 17 regions influenced more than one trait, explaining the phenotypic correlations between traits that were observed. Three QTLs appeared to be specific to the Philippines experiments. One QTL had opposing effects in the Philippines and West Africa. QTLs for relative water content were detected on chromosome 8, congruent with an osmotic adjustment QTL identified in another population. Only three of the QTLs identified here have not been reliably identified in the two other populations that have been screened for drought avoidance. By using several populations assessed for drought avoidance in different sites, the distribution and utility of QTLs for drought avoidance in rice is being elucidated.Plant Molecular Biology 01/2002; 48(5-6):683-95. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Deep root systems that extend into moist soil can significantly increase plant productivity. Here, the components of soil-grown root systems of wheat, barley and triticale are characterized, and types and water conducting potential of deep roots in the field are assessed. Root system components were characterized in plants grown in soil in PVC tubes, based on their origin and number and the arrangement of xylem tracheary elements (XTE) viewed using fluorescence microscopy. A new nomenclature is proposed. Deep roots were harvested in the field, and root types of the current crop and remnant roots from previous crops were identified by fluorescence and cryo-scanning electron microscopy. Four types of axile (framework) and five types of branch root were distinguished in the three cereals. Six per cent of deep roots were axile roots that originated from the base of the embryo; 94% were branch roots, of which 48% had only two XTE (10 microm diameter), and thus potentially low axial flow. Only 30% of roots in the cores were from the current crop, the remainder being remnants. Selection for more deep-penetrating axile roots and increased vascular capacity of deep branches is of potential benefit. Conventional root-length density measurements should be interpreted and applied cautiously.New Phytologist 02/2008; 178(1):135-46. · 6.74 Impact Factor
Anton Paul Wasson