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Natural genetic variation of root system architecture from Arabidopsis to Brachypodium: towards adaptive value.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Root system architecture is a trait that displays considerable plasticity because of its sensitivity to environmental stimuli. Nevertheless, to a significant degree it is genetically constrained as suggested by surveys of its natural genetic variation. A few regulators of root system architecture have been isolated as quantitative trait loci through the natural variation approach in the dicotyledon model, Arabidopsis. This provides proof of principle that allelic variation for root system architecture traits exists, is genetically tractable, and might be exploited for crop breeding. Beyond Arabidopsis, Brachypodium could serve as both a credible and experimentally accessible model for root system architecture variation in monocotyledons, as suggested by first glimpses of the different root morphologies of Brachypodium accessions. Whether a direct knowledge transfer gained from molecular model system studies will work in practice remains unclear however, because of a lack of comprehensive understanding of root system physiology in the native context. For instance, apart from a few notable exceptions, the adaptive value of genetic variation in root system modulators is unknown. Future studies should thus aim at comprehensive characterization of the role of genetic players in root system architecture variation by taking into account the native environmental conditions, in particular soil characteristics.
Adaptation, Physiological, Alleles, Arabidopsis/genetics, Arabidopsis/growth & development, Brachypodium/genetics, Brachypodium/growth & development, Gene-Environment Interaction, Genes, Plant, Genetic Variation, Phloem/growth & development, Phloem/physiology, Plant Cells/physiology, Plant Roots/genetics, Plant Roots/growth & development, Quantitative Trait Loci, Soil, Species Specificity, Xylem/growth & development, Xylem/physiology
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