Quantifying rooting at depth in a wheat doubled haploid population with introgression from wild emmer

Christina Clarke, Peter Gregory, Martin Lukac, Amanda Burridge, Alexandra Allen, Keith Edwards, Michael Gooding

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and aims: The genetic basis of increased rooting below the plough layer, post-anthesis in the field, of an elite wheat line (Triticum aestivum cv. Shamrock) with recent introgression from wild emmer (T. dicoccoides), is investigated. Shamrock has a non-glaucous canopy phenotype mapped to the short arm of chromosome 2B (2BS), derived from the wild emmer. A secondary aim was to determine whether genetic effects found in the field could have been predicted by other assessment methods.

Methods: Roots of doubled haploid (DH) lines from a winter wheat (cv. Shamrock x Shango) population were assessed using a seedling screen in moist paper rolls, in rhizotrons to the end of tillering, and in the field post-anthesis. A linkage map was produced using single nucleotide polymorphism markers to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for rooting traits.

Key results: Shamrock had greater root length density (RLD) at depth than Shango, in the field and within the rhizotrons. The DH population exhibited diversity for rooting traits within the three environments studied. QTL were identified on 5D, 6B and 7B, explaining variation in RLD post-anthesis in the field. Effects associated with the non-glaucous trait on RLD interacted significantly with depth in the field and some of this interaction mapped to
2BS. The effect of genotype interacted greatly with the method of root assessment: e.g. glaucousness expressed in the field was negatively associated with RLD in the rhizotrons, but positively associated with length in the seedling screen.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify QTL for rooting at depth in field-grown wheat at mature growth stages. Within the population studied here, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that some of the variation in rooting is associated with recent introgression from wild emmer. The expression of genetic effects differed between the methods of root assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-470
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2017


  • deep rooting
  • drought
  • phenotyping
  • root length density
  • doubled haploid
  • seedling screen
  • rhizotron
  • Triticum aestivum (wheat)
  • Triticum dicoccoides (wild emmer)


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