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Development of a phenotyping platform for high throughput screening of nodal root angle in sorghum



Development of a phenotyping platform for high throughput screening of nodal root angle in sorghum



Plant Methods 13: 56



In sorghum, the growth angle of nodal roots is a major component of root system architecture. It strongly influences the spatial distribution of roots of mature plants in the soil profile, which can impact drought adaptation. However, selection for nodal root angle in sorghum breeding programs has been restricted by the absence of a suitable high throughput phenotyping platform. The aim of this study was to develop a phenotyping platform for the rapid, non-destructive and digital measurement of nodal root angle of sorghum at the seedling stage. The phenotyping platform comprises of 500 soil filled root chambers (50 × 45 × 0.3 cm in size), made of transparent perspex sheets that were placed in metal tubs and covered with polycarbonate sheets. Around 3 weeks after sowing, once the first flush of nodal roots was visible, roots were imaged in situ using an imaging box that included two digital cameras that were remotely controlled by two android tablets. Free software (openGelPhoto.tcl) allowed precise measurement of nodal root angle from the digital images. The reliability and efficiency of the platform was evaluated by screening a large nested association mapping population of sorghum and a set of hybrids in six independent experimental runs that included up to 500 plants each. The platform revealed extensive genetic variation and high heritability (repeatability) for nodal root angle. High genetic correlations and consistent ranking of genotypes across experimental runs confirmed the reproducibility of the platform. This low cost, high throughput root phenotyping platform requires no sophisticated equipment, is adaptable to most glasshouse environments and is well suited to dissect the genetic control of nodal root angle of sorghum. The platform is suitable for use in sorghum breeding programs aiming to improve drought adaptation through root system architecture manipulation.

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Accession: 059598602

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28702072

DOI: 10.1186/s13007-017-0206-2


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