P0774 Physiological and Molecular Phenotyping of Wheats Grown Under Water-Deficit

Dante Placido , University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Wheat is an important crop, providing the calories and proteins in our diet.  However, the wheat production is being threatened by drought due to global climate change.  We propose to improve and sustain crop yields in drought environment by studying root architecture.  Studying root architecture is important because roots’ plasticity make them adaptable to acquiring water under drought stress.  This would provide a solution to the broad and challenging societal problem of generating food plants to adapt and grow sustainably in changing environments.  The potential impact of knowledge discovered about the root system architecture will be the development of drought tolerant cultivars through introduction of much-improved traits like root biomass and length into high yielding varieties.   Our overall goal is to study the genetic determinants involved in wheat root response to drought.  Comparing three different Pavon wheat lines grown under controlled greenhouse environment with appropriate light and nutrient source, we found phenotypic and physiological differences in root biomass, photosynthetic and transpiration rates as well stomatal conductance. We have also identified candidate genes that make a certain genotype have increased lateral roots and associated with stomatal conductance by microarray and RNA-sequence approaches.  A study will also be conducted for yield analysis of wheat in natural environments at three University of Nebraska field research centers.