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Development of a phenotyping platform for high throughput screening of nodal root angle in sorghum

Joshi, Dinesh C. and Singh, Vijaya and Hunt, Colleen and Mace, Emma and van Oosterom, Erik and Sulman, Richard and Jordan, David and Hammer, Graeme (2017) Development of a phenotyping platform for high throughput screening of nodal root angle in sorghum. Plant Methods, 13 (1). p. 56. ISSN 1746-4811

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13007-017-0206-2

Abstract

Background
In sorghum, the growth angle of nodal roots is a major component of root system architecture. It strongly influences the spatial distribution of roots of mature plants in the soil profile, which can impact drought adaptation. However, selection for nodal root angle in sorghum breeding programs has been restricted by the absence of a suitable high throughput phenotyping platform. The aim of this study was to develop a phenotyping platform for the rapid, non-destructive and digital measurement of nodal root angle of sorghum at the seedling stage.
Results
The phenotyping platform comprises of 500 soil filled root chambers (50 × 45 × 0.3 cm in size), made of transparent perspex sheets that were placed in metal tubs and covered with polycarbonate sheets. Around 3 weeks after sowing, once the first flush of nodal roots was visible, roots were imaged in situ using an imaging box that included two digital cameras that were remotely controlled by two android tablets. Free software (openGelPhoto.tcl) allowed precise measurement of nodal root angle from the digital images. The reliability and efficiency of the platform was evaluated by screening a large nested association mapping population of sorghum and a set of hybrids in six independent experimental runs that included up to 500 plants each. The platform revealed extensive genetic variation and high heritability (repeatability) for nodal root angle. High genetic correlations and consistent ranking of genotypes across experimental runs confirmed the reproducibility of the platform.
Conclusion
This low cost, high throughput root phenotyping platform requires no sophisticated equipment, is adaptable to most glasshouse environments and is well suited to dissect the genetic control of nodal root angle of sorghum. The platform is suitable for use in sorghum breeding programs aiming to improve drought adaptation through root system architecture manipulation.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:Drought – High throughput phenotyping – Root system architecture – Nodal root angle – Sorghum
Subjects:Science > Botany > Genetics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Plant culture > Propagation
Plant culture > Field crops > Sorghum
Deposited On:25 Jul 2017 03:36
Last Modified:25 Jul 2017 03:36

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