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Agronomy 2017, 7(2), 31; doi:10.3390/agronomy7020031

Development of a Statistical Crop Model to Explain the Relationship between Seed Yield and Phenotypic Diversity within the Brassica napus Genepool

1
Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences and Centre for Food Security, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 226, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AP, UK
2
School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
3
Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK
4
Warwick Crop Centre, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne CV35 9EF, UK
5
School of Agriculture, Policy and Development and Centre for Food Security, University of Reading, Earley Gate, Whiteknights Road, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, UK
6
Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK
7
Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
8
Office of the Vice-Chancellor, 18 Portland Villas, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK
These authors contributed equally to the work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karin Krupinska
Received: 30 March 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Senescence of Crop Plants)
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Abstract

Plants are extremely versatile organisms that respond to the environment in which they find themselves, but a large part of their development is under genetic regulation. The links between developmental parameters and yield are poorly understood in oilseed rape; understanding this relationship will help growers to predict their yields more accurately and breeders to focus on traits that may lead to yield improvements. To determine the relationship between seed yield and other agronomic traits, we investigated the natural variation that already exists with regards to resource allocation in 37 lines of the crop species Brassica napus. Over 130 different traits were assessed; they included seed yield parameters, seed composition, leaf mineral analysis, rates of pod and leaf senescence and plant architecture traits. A stepwise regression analysis was used to model statistically the measured traits with seed yield per plant. Above-ground biomass and protein content together accounted for 94.36% of the recorded variation. The primary raceme area, which was highly correlated with yield parameters (0.65), provides an early indicator of potential yield. The pod and leaf photosynthetic and senescence parameters measured had only a limited influence on seed yield and were not correlated with each other, indicating that reproductive development is not necessarily driving the senescence process within field-grown B. napus. Assessing the diversity that exists within the B. napus gene pool has highlighted architectural, seed and mineral composition traits that should be targeted in breeding programmes through the development of linked markers to improve crop yields. View Full-Text
Keywords: oilseed rape; statistical crop model; plant development; yield; seed composition oilseed rape; statistical crop model; plant development; yield; seed composition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bennett, E.J.; Brignell, C.J.; Carion, P.W.C.; Cook, S.M.; Eastmond, P.J.; Teakle, G.R.; Hammond, J.P.; Love, C.; King, G.J.; Roberts, J.A.; Wagstaff, C. Development of a Statistical Crop Model to Explain the Relationship between Seed Yield and Phenotypic Diversity within the Brassica napus Genepool. Agronomy 2017, 7, 31.

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