Root system size response of bzh semi-dwarf oilseed rape hybrids to different nitrogen levels in the field
Schierholt, Antje ; Tietz, Tina ; Bienert, Gerd Patrick ; Gertz, Andreas ; Miersch, Sebastian ; Becker, Heiko C
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17117
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In oilseed rape (Brassica napus) semi-dwarf hybrid varieties from crosses between bzh dwarf and normal-type lines are of increasing interest. They have improved nitrogen (N) uptake, N-utilization and N-use efficiency compared to normal types. This study aimed to elucidate whether these N-related effects can be explained by the bzh shoot growth-type alone or also by differences in root traits. METHODS: Root system size was measured using root electrical capacitance (EC) in field trials with two N levels in two sets of genotypes segregating for the bzh-locus: (1) 108 doubled haploid (DH) test hybrids in two seasons, 2010-2012, and (2) 16 near-isogenic hybrids in the 2016-17 season. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for root EC were estimated in DH test hybrids. Seedling root architecture parameters were monitored in vitro. KEY RESULTS: In vitro root growth showed a higher root: shoot ratio in bzh semi-dwarf hybrids. Root EC in field trials was higher at high N supply than at zero N fertilization. In most trials semi-dwarf hybrids had higher EC than normal-type hybrids, but they reduced root EC in response to N limitation more than normal types. Root EC was more heritable at the end of flowering (h2 = 0.73) than at the beginning of flowering (h2 = 0.36) in near-isogenic hybrids and had a lower heritability in trials of DH test hybrids (h2 = 0.27). A QTL for root EC in the genomic region of the bzh-locus on linkage group A06 was significant at zero N fertilization. CONCLUSIONS: Root EC proved to be a meaningful method in oilseed rape breeding programmes targeting root system size. The greater reduction of semi-dwarf root EC compared to the normal type under low N supply with simultaneous increase in N efficiency implies that in roots it is not a question of 'the more the merrier' and that the bzh root system reacts highly economically when N is scarce.
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