Farm Progress Reports




Horticulture Station




Substantial phenotypic variation in root architecture systems between genotypes in soybean germplasm have been reported. Morphology parameters can be used to classify roots into different types and correlate root type to environmental advantages, such as nutrient acquisition and drought or flood tolerance. As plant genetic research continues to focus on above-ground traits, the difficulty in easily measuring below-ground traits restricts root studies. Because of this difficulty and root trait(s) genetic complexity, these generally are not used as breeding criterion. Soybean breeding has continued for a century with little focus on the root development, its architecture, structure, and function. Knowledge of the soybean root system and the genetic basis for these traits is essential to understanding how soybean roots drive yield, and to build more robust and resilient varieties. Objectives with this study are to explore the root architecture diversity in soybean, create new protocols to identify diverse root traits, and to attempt to understand correlations between traits, both above and below ground, and relate these to yield. Understanding the diversity of root architecture can better help adapt the soybean genetic base for the climate of the future.





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