Natural genetic variation for root traits among diversity lines of maize (Zea Mays L.)


Maize (Z. mays L.) is the third most important food grain for humankind after rice and wheat. Maize is mostly grown under rain-fed conditions and among the cereals, it is the second most susceptible to drought next to rice. Constitutive variation for root traits is an important adaptation under drought prone conditions. The objective of this study is to screen the twenty five diverse parental lines used in the maize nested association mapping panel along with the common parental line, B73, for constitutive root traits (including rooting depth and root biomass) and shoot traits. All the lines were grown with five replications in 72 cm deep pots containing a turface:sand mixture (2:1 v/v) for 30 days under well-watered conditions in a temperature and humidity controlled green house. Significant variation existed among the diverse lines for root length, root biomass, shoot length, and leaf area. The average root length ranged from 17.5 to 106 cm. The genotypes with a deep root system also recorded greater root biomass and leaf area. The natural genetic variation exhibited by these lines could be exploited to identify potential quantitative trait loci controlling root architecture. Using the nested association mapping populations that were developed from these diverse lines, would allow for in-depth analysis and fine-mapping of prospective candidate genes for root architecture in maize.


maize, diversity lines, root length, leaf area, correlation

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Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013