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A new phenotyping pipeline reveals three types of lateral roots and a random branching pattern in two cereals

Passot S., Moreno-Ortega B., Moukouanga D., Balsera C., Guyomarc'h S., Lucas M., Lobet G., Laplaze L., Muller B., Guédon Y.. 2018. Plant Physiology, 177 : p. 896-910.

Recent progress in root phenotyping has focused mainly on increasing throughput for genetic studies, while identifying root developmental patterns has been comparatively underexplored. We introduce a new phenotyping pipeline for producing high-quality spatiotemporal root system development data and identifying developmental patterns within these data. The SmartRoot image-analysis system and temporal and spatial statistical models were applied to two cereals, pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and maize (Zea mays). Semi-Markov switching linear models were used to cluster lateral roots based on their growth rate profiles. These models revealed three types of lateral roots with similar characteristics in both species. The first type corresponds to fast and accelerating roots, the second to rapidly arrested roots, and the third to an intermediate type where roots cease elongation after a few days. These types of lateral roots were retrieved in different proportions in a maize mutant affected in auxin signaling, while the first most vigorous type was absent in maize plants exposed to severe shading. Moreover, the classification of growth rate profiles was mirrored by a ranking of anatomical traits in pearl millet. Potential dependencies in the succession of lateral root types along the primary root were then analyzed using variable-order Markov chains. The lateral root type was not influenced by the shootward neighbor root type or by the distance from this root. This random branching pattern of primary roots was remarkably conserved, despite the high variability of root systems in both species. Our phenotyping pipeline opens the door to exploring the genetic variability of lateral root developmental patterns.

Thématique : Anatomie et morphologie des plantes; Génétique et amélioration des plantes; Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques

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