, 214:54 | Cite as

Phenotypic variation in root architecture traits and their relationship with eco-geographical and agronomic features in a core collection of tetraploid wheat landraces (Triticum turgidum L.)

  • Magdalena RuizEmail author
  • Patricia Giraldo
  • Juan M. González


To obtain varieties with root systems adapted to marginal environments it is necessary to search for new genotypes in genetically diverse materials, such as landraces that are more likely to carry novel alleles for different root features. A core collection of ‘durum’ wheat, including three subspecies (dicoccon, turgidum and durum) from contrasting eco-geographical zones, was evaluated for root traits and shoot weight at the seminal root stage. Distinctive rooting phenotypes were characterized within each subspecies, mainly in subsp. durum. Contrasting rooting types, including large roots with shallow distributions, and others with high root numbers were identified. Correlations with climatic traits showed that root shape is more relevant in adaptation to eco-geographical zones in subsp. dicoccon, whereas in subsp. turgidum and durum, which come from warmer and drier areas, both size and shape of roots could have adaptive roles. Root traits with the largest positive effects on certain yield components under limited water conditions included root diameter in subsp. dicoccon, root size in turgidum, and root number in durum. Additionally, shoot weight at the seedling stage had important effects in subsp. turgidum and durum. Twenty-eight marker–trait associations (MTAs) previously identified in this collection for agronomic or quality traits were associated with seminal root traits. Some markers were associated with only one root trait, but others were associated with up to six traits. These MTAs and the genetic variability characterized for root traits in this collection can be exploited in further work to improve drought tolerance and resource capture in wheat.


Germplasm MTAs Root characteristics Triticum dicoccon Triticum durum 



Mean root diameter


Evapotranspiration potential


Total root length


Minimum angle with respect to the vertical


Mean of all root angles with respect to the vertical


Maximum angle with respect to the vertical


Root numbers


Primary root length


Root system architecture


Total root surface area


Total root volume


Shoot weight



This research was supported by projects RFP2015-00008- C04-01 and AGL2016-77149 from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, and the European Fund for Regional Development (FEDER). We thank Eva Friero and Alicia del Amo for the technical assistance.

Supplementary material

10681_2018_2133_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Description of the test environments. Meteorological data from November to June (DOCX 16 kb)
10681_2018_2133_MOESM2_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 2 Supplementary material 2 Means of the RSA traits and shoot weight (W) for each subspecies of the 94 genotypes analysed (DOCX 17 kb)
10681_2018_2133_MOESM3_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 3 Supplementary material 3 Significant correlations (r values) between the RSA and the agronomic traits for each subspecies evaluated in wetter (C07) and dry (N and C14) environments (DOCX 20 kb)
10681_2018_2133_MOESM4_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 4 Supplementary material 4 MTAs for agronomic and quality traits, significantly associated with root traits determined by linear regression analysis (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Genetic Resources CentreNational Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and TechnologyAlcalá de HenaresSpain
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology-Plant Biology, School of Agricultural EngineeringUniversidad Politécnica de Madrid, Ciudad UniversitariaMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Edificio de Biología Celular y GenéticaUniversidad de AlcaláMadridSpain

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