Proxy-based approach to wheat selection for photosynthetic efficiency
Approaches based on physiological understanding of yield are necessary for developing genotypes combining high yielding potential and agronomic traits of superior adaptation, and for understanding yield limiting factors. Yet, direct measurement of a particular physiological variable is often difficult. This study was set to develop a proxy-based approach to wheat selection for photosynthetic efficiency. After conceptualizing a theoretical framework of links between the traits of photosynthesis, water relations, leaf morphology and anatomy, and their likely proxies; a comparative screening of 23 Eps wheat cultivars was conducted in field at NIAB by means of photosynthetic gas exchange measurement, followed by isotopic measurements (of Δ13C, δ15N, δ18O) in the leaf matter, and morphological and anatomical measurement. Data were explored for parametric assumptions of normal distribution, and homogeneity of variance using Kolmogorov Smirnov and Levene’s tests respectively, and then were subjected to both partial Pearson correlation analysis and mixed analysis of variance (Mixed ANOVA) at p<.01; and Bonferroni test. Having ranked a number of traits according to their likely association with particular proxy, the results showed that photosynthetic rate and WUE (Water Use Efficiency) were highly and statistically significant (p<.01) associated with SLA (Specific Leaf Area). Based on these results, the study concluded that SLA would be potential proxy of both Amax and WUE in wheat.
Keywords: Proxy-based selection, photosynthesis, WUE, wheat,SLA
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