Variation in root traits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) grown under terminal drought uri icon

abstract

  • Deep and prolific root systems have been associated with enhanced avoidance of terminal drought stress in chickpea. This research evaluated the root traits of 257 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between a breeding line with a large root system (ICC 4958) and an agronomically preferred variety (Annigeri) to assess the potential for identifying QTL for desirable root traits and to investigate the relationship between root traits, plant growth and seed yield under terminal drought stress. The root traits of field-grown chickpea RILs were measured using the monolith method during the 2001-2002 cropping season, while their shoot biomass and seed yield were evaluated during both 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons. Significant genetic variation was observed amongst the RIL population for root length density, root dry weight and shoot dry weight at 35 days after sowing and for shoot biomass and seed yield at maturity. A linear relationship was observed between root dry weight and shoot dry weight at 35 days after sowing. The overall distribution of root length density and root dry weight among the RILs indicated that these traits are likely to be under polygenic control. The heritability of root dry weight was 0.27 and root length density was 0.23, compared to 0.49 for shoot dry weight at the same stage. The RILs exhibited a range of combinations of root size and seed yield, with a few RILs showing large root systems and high seed yield. However, there was no general correlation between seed yield and root size. High shoot biomass and harvest index contributed to high seed yield of the RILs. The implications for the molecular breeding of drought-avoidance root traits in chickpea are discussed

publication date

  • 2004
  • 2004