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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Research Project #431336

Research Project: Role of Root System Architecture and Function in Improving Crop Nutrient and Water Efficiency

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 8062-21000-046-09-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2016
End Date: Jun 30, 2021

The overall objectives of this research are to identify genes and physiological mechanisms in plant root systems that enable crop plants to adapt and flourish on marginal soils environments. The specific objective is: to continue to develop, improve and employ optical imaging tools to study root system architecture in order to genetically map root architecture traits that confer improved water and nutrient acquisition efficiency, and then mine these data to identify the genes controlling these root traits in order to improve crop performance on drought-prone and marginal soils.

Role of root system architecture in water and mineral nutrient acquisition efficiency: We will continue to develop and improve imaging platforms for imaging root systems and quantitating root architecture traits to determine their role in water and mineral nutrient use efficiency. We also will continue to use these imaging and root trait analysis platforms to carry out genetic mapping of root system architecture traits to identify genes that condition deep versus shallow root systems for acquisition of water, N and P. Subsequent physiological and genomic analysis of candidate genes will then be conducted to validate the identity of genes underlying key root architecture traits that underlie improved nutrient and water acquisition efficiency.