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High-throughput Phenotyping of Wheat Seminal Root Traits in a Breeding Context

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Richard, C., Hickey, L., Fletcher, S., Chenu, K., Borrell, A. and Christopher, J. (2015) High-throughput Phenotyping of Wheat Seminal Root Traits in a Breeding Context. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 29 . pp. 102-103. ISSN 1878-0296

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.proenv.2015.07.179

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878029615003916


Water availability is a major limiting factor for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in rain-fed agricultural systems worldwide. Root architecture has important functional implications for the timing and extent of soil water extraction, yet selection for root traits in wheat breeding programs has been largely limited due to the lack of suitable phenotyping methods. The aim of this research was to develop a low-cost high-throughput phenotyping method to facilitate selection for desirable root traits. We developed a method to assess ‘seminal root angle’ and ‘seminal root number’ in seedlings – two proxy traits associated to root architecture of mature wheat plants (1). The method involves measuring the angle between the first pair of seminal roots and the number of roots of wheat seedlings grown in transparent pots (Figure 1). Images captured at 5 to 10 days after sowing are analyzed to calculate seminal root angle and number. Performing this technique under “speed breeding” conditions (plants grown at a density of 600 plants / m2, under controlled temperature and constant light) allows the selection based on the desired root traits of up to 5 consecutive generations within 12 months. Alternatively, when focusing only on germplasm screening, up to 52 successive phenotypic assays can be conducted within 12 months. This approach has been shown to be highly reproducible, it requires little resource (time, space, and labour) and can be used to rapidly enrich breeding populations with desirable alleles for narrow root angle and a high number of seminal roots to indirectly target the selection of deeper root system with higher branching at depth. Such root characteristics are highly desirable in wheat to cope with the climate model projections, especially in summer rainfall dominant regions including some Australian, Indian, South American and African cropping regions, where winter crops mainly rely on deep stored water.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:Open Access
Keywords:Wheat breeding Root angle Roor number Adaptation Drought
Subjects:Science > Botany > Genetics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Plant culture > Field crops > Wheat
Live Archive:09 Feb 2016 03:02
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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