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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Plant Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #430171

Research Project: An Integrated Phenomics Approach to Identifying the Genetic Basis for Maize Root Structure and Control of Plant Nutrient Relations

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Project Number: 5070-21000-043-03-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2016
End Date: May 31, 2020

We will use three different methods to analyze root structure of segregating maize populations to identify loci responsible for root architecture traits. We will use the elemental content of above ground tissues as a proxy for root function.

We will apply field and controlled environment based phenotyping methods to a high-resolution mapping population along with gene expression profiling will identify the genes that drive root architectures related to nitrogen uptake capacity, a key trait underlying plant productivity. Furthermore, novel comparisons of root phenotyping methods and root physiology will be developed. The four imaging approaches are: 1) A 3D root imaging and analysis pipeline based on optical projection tomography (OPT). Plants are grown in glass jars filled with fertilizer imbued gel, before being imaged at various time points on a rotational platter synced to a standard camera. 2) X-ray based tomagraphy of plants grown in pots. 3) "Shovelomics" image based analysis of root balls dug up from the field. 4) Mini-rhizotron imaging of roots in the field setting using tubes sunk into the field at planting time and cameras that are moved up and downt he tubes. Two maize inbred populations will be analyzed: A recombinant inbred population between the Illinois Long term selection High and Low Protein lines and a second population, pick from among the Maize NAM populations based on its responsiveness to low Nitrogen availability. The lines will be grown under controlled conditions at the Cooperator's facility and in the fields at the Cooperator under high and low Nitrogen availability. The elemental content of above ground tissues will be analyzed in all conditions as a means to test the function of the roots.