Genetic control of nodal root angle in sorghum and its implications on water extraction

Singh, V. and Oosterom, E.J. van and Jordan, D.R. and Hammer, G.L. (2012) Genetic control of nodal root angle in sorghum and its implications on water extraction. European Journal of Agronomy. pp. 1-8.

[img] PDF (In Press, Corrected Proof ) - Accepted Version
Restricted to ICRISAT researchers only


Genotypic variability in root system architecture has been associated with root angle of seedlings and water extraction patterns of mature plants in a range of crops. The potential inclusion of root angle as a selection criterion in a sorghum breeding program requires (1) availability of an efficient screening method, (2) presence of genotypic variation with high heritability, and (3) an association with water extraction pattern. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility for inclusion of nodal root angle as a selection criterion in sorghum breeding programs. A high-throughput phenotypic screen for nodal root angle in young sorghum plants has recently been developed and has been used successfully to identify significant variation in nodal root angle across a diverse range of inbred lines and a mapping population. In both cases, heritabilities for nodal root angle were high. No association between nodal root angle and plant size was detected. This implies that parental inbred lines could potentially be used to asses nodal root angle of their hybrids, although such predictability is compromised by significant interactions. To study effects of nodal root angle on water extraction patterns of mature plants, four inbred lines with contrasting nodal root angle at seedling stage were grown until at least anthesis in large rhizotrons. A consistent trend was observed that nodal root angle may affect the spatial distribution of root mass of mature plants and hence their ability to extract soil water, although genotypic differences were not significant. The potential implications of this for specific adaptation to drought stress are discussed. Results suggest that nodal root angle of young plants can be a useful selection criterion for specific drought adaptation, and could potentially be used in molecular breeding programs if QTLs for root angle can be identified.

Item Type: Article
Author Affiliation: The University of Queensland
Subjects: Crop Improvement
Divisions: Sorghum
Depositing User: Mr. SanatKumar Behera
Date Deposited: 26 May 2012 06:16
Last Modified: 26 May 2012 06:54
Official URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item