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A tillering inhibition gene influences root-shoot carbon partitioning and pattern of water use to improve wheat productivity in rainfed environments

Hendriks, P.W., Kirkegaard, J.A., Lilley, J.M., Gregory, P. J. and Rebetzke, G.J. (2016) A tillering inhibition gene influences root-shoot carbon partitioning and pattern of water use to improve wheat productivity in rainfed environments. Journal of Experimental Botany, 67 (1). pp. 327-340. ISSN 1460-2431

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erv457

Abstract/Summary

Genetic modification of shoot and root morphology has potential to improve water and nutrient 19 uptake of wheat crops in rainfed environments. Near-isogenic lines (NILs) varying for a tillering 20 inhibition (tin) gene and representing multiple genetic backgrounds were investigated in contrasting 21 controlled environments for shoot and root growth. Leaf area, shoot and root biomass were similar 22 until tillering whereupon reduced tillering in tin-containing NILs produced reductions of up to 60% in 23 total leaf area and biomass, and increases in total root length of up to 120% and root biomass to 24 145%. Together, root-to-shoot ratio increased two-fold with the tin gene. The influence of tin on shoot 25 and root growth was greatest in the cv. Banks genetic background, particularly in the biculm-selected 26 NIL, and was typically strongest in cooler environments. A separate de-tillering study confirmed 27 greater root-to-shoot ratios with regular tiller removal in non-tin containing genotypes. In validating 28 these observations in a rainfed field study, the tin allele had a negligible effect on seedling growth but 29 was associated with significantly (P<0.05) reduced tiller number (-37%), leaf area index (-26%) and 30 spike number (-35%) to reduce plant biomass (-19%) at anthesis. Root biomass, root-to-shoot ratio at 31 early stem elongation and root depth at maturity were increased in tin-containing NILs. Soil water use 32 was slowed in tin-containing NILs resulting in greater water availability, greater stomatal 33 conductance, cooler canopy temperatures and maintenance of green leaf area during grain-filling. 34 Together these effects contributed to increases in harvest index and grain yield. In both the controlled 35 and field environments, the tin gene was commonly associated with increased root length and biomass 36 but the significant influence of genetic background and environment suggests careful assessment of 37 tin-containing progeny in selection for genotypic increases in root growth.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Crops Research Group
ID Code:58170
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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