Genotypic variability in root length in pea (Pisum sativum L.) and lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) cultivars in a semi-arid environment based on mini-rhizotron image capture
Lamb, Peggy F.
McGee, Rebecca J.
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Physiological breeding is an approach that complements conventional breeding by providing characterizations of traits present in breeding populations. This allows breeders the ability to choose crosses based on desirable and adaptive traits, an approach that may be more reliable than selection on yield alone. In this study, we determined how much genotypic variability was present in selected lines of modern field pea (Pisum sativum L.) and lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) cultivars from Montana, North Dakota, Washington, and Saskatchewan, Canada, and if root growth, particularly at depth, improves the fitness of lines to semi-arid environments. We conducted experiments at the Northern Agricultural Research Center of Montana State University from 2017 to 2019 inclusively to investigate root growth with mini-rhizotrons in 29 field pea lines and 25 lentil lines. Results suggest there is large genotypic variability in root length across the soil profile and the proportion of root length found below 30 cm in both crops, and these root traits appear independent of each other. In field pea, the highest yielding cultivars were intermediary in both total root length and the proportion of root length below 30 cm, suggesting large root systems and/or deeper root profiles are not necessarily beneficial in this environment. By contrast, in lentil, total root length and root length found below 30 cm was well correlated with biomass and yield. For breeders interested in in improved adaptation to semi-arid environments, it may be too early to optimize root systems, and above-ground traits may still yield a better return on investment.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. © 2022 The Authors. The Plant Phenome Journal published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America
Bourgault, M., Lamb, P., McPhee, K., McGee, R. J., Vandenberg, A., & Warkentin, T. (2022). Genotypic variability in root length in pea (Pisum sativum L.) and lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) cultivars in a semi-arid environment based on mini-rhizotron image capture. The Plant Phenome Journal, 5,e20037. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppj2.20037