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      Backhoe-assisted monolith method for plant root phenotyping under upland conditions

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          Root system architecture (RSA) is one of the most important traits determining water and nutrient availability for plants. Modification of RSA is known to be a useful approach for improving root performance of crops. However, for conducting root phenotyping, there are few alternatives for the rapid collection of root samples from a constant soil volume. In this report, we propose a rapid root-sampling method, which uses a steel cylinder known as round monolith and backhoes to reduce the physical effort. The monolith was set on the ground surrounding individual rice plants and vertically driven back by a backhoe. Soil samples with 20 cm width and 25 cm depth were excavated by the monolith, from which root samples were then isolated. This backhoe-assisted monolith method requires at most five minutes to collect root samples from one plant. Using this method, we quantified the root traits of three rice lines, reported to form different types of root system such as shallow-, intermediate-, and deep-roots, using a root image analysis software. The data obtained through this method, which showed the same trend as previously reported, clearly demonstrated that this method is useful for quantitative evaluation of roots in the soil.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Root Architecture and Plant Productivity.

           J. Lynch (1995)
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            Control of root system architecture by DEEPER ROOTING 1 increases rice yield under drought conditions.

            The genetic improvement of drought resistance is essential for stable and adequate crop production in drought-prone areas. Here we demonstrate that alteration of root system architecture improves drought avoidance through the cloning and characterization of DEEPER ROOTING 1 (DRO1), a rice quantitative trait locus controlling root growth angle. DRO1 is negatively regulated by auxin and is involved in cell elongation in the root tip that causes asymmetric root growth and downward bending of the root in response to gravity. Higher expression of DRO1 increases the root growth angle, whereby roots grow in a more downward direction. Introducing DRO1 into a shallow-rooting rice cultivar by backcrossing enabled the resulting line to avoid drought by increasing deep rooting, which maintained high yield performance under drought conditions relative to the recipient cultivar. Our experiments suggest that control of root system architecture will contribute to drought avoidance in crops.
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              Root system architecture: opportunities and constraints for genetic improvement of crops.

              Abiotic stresses increasingly curtail crop yield as a result of global climate change and scarcity of water and nutrients. One way to minimize the negative impact of these factors on yield is to manipulate root system architecture (RSA) towards a distribution of roots in the soil that optimizes water and nutrient uptake. It is now established that most of the genetic variation for RSA is driven by a suite of quantitative trait loci. As we discuss here, marker-assisted selection and quantitative trait loci cloning for RSA are underway, exploiting genomic resources, candidate genes and the knowledge gained from Arabidopsis, rice and other crops. Nonetheless, efficient and accurate phenotyping, modelling and collaboration with breeders remain important challenges, particularly when defining ideal RSA for different crops and target environments.

                Author and article information

                Breed Sci
                Breed. Sci
                Breeding Science
                Japanese Society of Breeding
                September 2019
                10 July 2019
                : 69
                : 3
                : 508-513
                [1 ] Institute of Crop Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization , Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8518, Japan
                [2 ] Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization , Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author (e-mail: yuga@ )

                Communicated by Manabu Ishitani

                Copyright © 2019 by JAPANESE SOCIETY OF BREEDING

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Animal agriculture

                image analysis, monolith, root sampling, root morphology, rice


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