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Table_1_Root Pulling Force Across Drought in Maize Reveals Genotype by Environment Interactions and Candidate Genes.XLSX (194.76 kB)

Table_1_Root Pulling Force Across Drought in Maize Reveals Genotype by Environment Interactions and Candidate Genes.XLSX

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posted on 2022-04-15, 04:47 authored by Patrick Woods, Kevin R. Lehner, Kirsten Hein, Jack L. Mullen, John K. McKay

High-throughput, field-based characterization of root systems for hundreds of genotypes in thousands of plots is necessary for breeding and identifying loci underlying variation in root traits and their plasticity. We designed a large-scale sampling of root pulling force, the vertical force required to extract the root system from the soil, in a maize diversity panel under differing irrigation levels for two growing seasons. We then characterized the root system architecture of the extracted root crowns. We found consistent patterns of phenotypic plasticity for root pulling force for a subset of genotypes under differential irrigation, suggesting that root plasticity is predictable. Using genome-wide association analysis, we identified 54 SNPs as statistically significant for six independent root pulling force measurements across two irrigation levels and four developmental timepoints. For every significant GWAS SNP for any trait in any treatment and timepoint we conducted post hoc tests for genotype-by-environment interaction, using a mixed model ANOVA. We found that 8 of the 54 SNPs showed significant GxE. Candidate genes underlying variation in root pulling force included those involved in nutrient transport. Although they are often treated separately, variation in the ability of plant roots to sense and respond to variation in environmental resources including water and nutrients may be linked by the genes and pathways underlying this variation. While functional validation of the identified genes is needed, our results expand the current knowledge of root phenotypic plasticity at the whole plant and gene levels, and further elucidate the complex genetic architecture of maize root systems.

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