High-throughput imaging and analysis of root system architecture in Brachypodium distachyon under differential nutrient availability.
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) deficiency are primary constraints for plant productivity, and root system architecture (RSA) plays a vital role in the acquisition of these nutrients. The genetic determinants of RSA are poorly understood, primarily owing to the complexity of crop genomes and the lack of sufficient RSA phenotyping methods. The objective of this study was to characterize the RSA of two Brachypodium distachyon accessions under different nutrient availability. To do so, we used a high-throughput plant growth and imaging platform, and developed software that quantified 19 different RSA traits. We found significant differences in RSA between two Brachypodium accessions grown on nutrient-rich, low-N and low-P conditions. More specifically, one accession maintained axile root growth under low N, while the other accession maintained lateral root growth under low P. These traits resemble the RSA of crops adapted to low-N and -P conditions, respectively. Furthermore, we found that a number of these traits were highly heritable. This work lays the foundation for future identification of important genetic components of RSA traits under nutrient limitation using a mapping population derived from these two accessions.
Ingram, PA; Zhu, J; Shariff, A; Davis, IW; Benfey, PN; Elich, T
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