Phenotypic Diversity of Seminal Root Traits in Bread Wheat Germplasm from Different Origins

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Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a major staple crop, and more adapted varieties are needed to ensure productivity under unpredictable stress scenarios resulting from climate changes. In the development of new genotypes, root system traits are essential since roots have a key function in water and nutrient uptake, and root architecture determines the plant’s ability to spatially explore the soil resources. Genetic variation in wheat root system may be assessed at the early stages of development. This study evaluates in vitro and at the seedling stage, the genetic diversity of root growth angle (RGA), seminal root number (SRN), and radicle length (RadL) in 30 bread wheat genotypes from different origins and belonging to distinct evolutive or breeding groups. SRN and RadL were analyzed at 1, 2, 3 and 6 days after sowing (DAS) and RGA was measured through the angle between the first pair of seminal roots. A large variability was found in RGA values that ranged from 63° to 122°. Although differences were found between genotypes within the same groups, the narrower angles tended to occur among landraces, while the higher RGA values were observed in advanced lines and Australian varieties. Differences were also observed as regards the SRN (1.0–3.0, 2.7–4.7, 3.2–5.0 and 4.4–6.3 at 1, 2, 3 and 6 DAS, respectively) and RadL (0.1–1.5, 2.1–5.0, 4.0–7.5 and 5.1–13.7 cm at 1, 2, 3 and 6 DAS, respectively). Genetic variability in root traits at seedling stage allows more rapid selection of genotypes better adapted to environmental and soil constraints, necessary to Portuguese Wheat Breeding Program. It will also contribute to the definition of wheat ideotypes with improved performance under Mediterranean climate conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2842
Number of pages13
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2022


  • root growth angle
  • seminal root length
  • seminal root number
  • seminal roots


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