A wheat/rye polymorphism affects seminal root length and is associated with drought and waterlogging tolerance

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Tyson HowellJorge Dubcovsky


The introgression of a small segment of wheat chromosome 1BS in the distal region of the rye 1RS arm translocation in wheat (henceforth 1RSRW) was previously associated with reduced grain yield, carbon isotope discrimination and stomatal conductance, suggesting reduced access to soil moisture. In this study, we show that the 1RS/1RSRW polymorphism causes differences in root length in field and hydroponic experiments. In the latter, differences in seminal root length were associated with a developmentally regulated arrest of the root apical meristem (RAM). Approximately 10 days after germination, the seminal roots of the 1RSRW plants showed a gradual reduction in elongation rate and stopped growing a week later. Seventeen days after germination, the roots of the 1RSRW plants showed altered gradients of reactive oxygen species and emergence of lateral roots close to the RAM, suggesting a loss of apical dominance. The 1RS/1RSRW isogenic lines also differed in plant biomass and grain yield under normal, terminal drought, and waterlogging field conditions. The differences were larger in fields with reduced or excessive irrigation. These results suggest that this polymorphism may be useful to modulate root architecture and mitigate t...Continue Reading

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