The effects of dwarfing genes on seedling root growth of wheat
Wojciechowski, T., Gooding, M. J., Ramsay, L. and Gregory, P. J. (2009) The effects of dwarfing genes on seedling root growth of wheat. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60 (9). pp. 2565-2573. ISSN 0022-0957
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erp107
Most modern wheat cultivars contain major dwarfing genes, but their effects on root growth are unclear. Near-isogenic lines (NILs) containing Rht-B1b, Rht-D1b, Rht-B1c, Rht8c, Rht-D1c, and Rht12 were used to characterize the effects of semi-dwarfing and dwarfing alleles on root growth of 'Mercia' and 'Maris Widgeon' wheat cultivars. Wheat seedlings were grown in gel chambers, soil-filled columns, and in the field. Roots were extracted and length and dry mass measured. No significant differences in root length were found between semi-dwarfing lines and the control lines in any experiment, nor was there a significant difference between the root lengths of the two cultivars grown in the field. Total root length of the dwarf lines (Rht-B1c, Rht-D1c, and Rht12) was significantly different from that of the control although the effect was dependent on the experimental methodology; in gel chambers root length of dwarfing lines was increased by; 40% while in both soil media it was decreased (by 24-33%). Root dry mass was 22-30% of the total dry mass in the soil-filled column and field experiments. Root length increased proportionally with grain mass, which varied between NILs, so grain mass was a covariate for the analysis of variance. Although total root length was altered by dwarf lines, root architecture (average root diameter, lateral root: total root ratio) was not affected by reduced height alleles. A direct effect of dwarfing alleles on root growth during seedling establishment, rather than a secondary partitioning effect, was suggested by the present experiments.