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Root Traits and Phenotyping Strategies for Plant Improvement

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dilantha Fernando
Plants 2015, 4(2), 334-355;
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 1 June 2015 / Accepted: 8 June 2015 / Published: 15 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Root Development)
Roots are crucial for nutrient and water acquisition and can be targeted to enhance plant productivity under a broad range of growing conditions. A current challenge for plant breeding is the limited ability to phenotype and select for desirable root characteristics due to their underground location. Plant breeding efforts aimed at modifying root traits can result in novel, more stress-tolerant crops and increased yield by enhancing the capacity of the plant for soil exploration and, thus, water and nutrient acquisition. Available approaches for root phenotyping in laboratory, greenhouse and field encompass simple agar plates to labor-intensive root digging (i.e., shovelomics) and soil boring methods, the construction of underground root observation stations and sophisticated computer-assisted root imaging. Here, we summarize root architectural traits relevant to crop productivity, survey root phenotyping strategies and describe their advantages, limitations and practical value for crop and forage breeding programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: root; phenotyping; breeding; root breeding; root ideotype; root plasticity; abiotic stress root; phenotyping; breeding; root breeding; root ideotype; root plasticity; abiotic stress
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Paez-Garcia, A.; Motes, C.M.; Scheible, W.-R.; Chen, R.; Blancaflor, E.B.; Monteros, M.J. Root Traits and Phenotyping Strategies for Plant Improvement. Plants 2015, 4, 334-355.

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