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Correlation and co-localization of QTL for stomatal density and canopy temperature under drought stress in Setaria

By Parthiban Thathapalli Prakash, Darshi Banan, Rachel Paul, Maximilian J Feldman, Dan Xie, Luke Freyfogle, Ivan Baxter, Andrew Leakey

Posted 14 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.14.339580

Mechanistic modeling indicates that stomatal conductance could be reduced to improve water use efficiency (WUE) in C4 crops. Genetic variation in stomatal density and canopy temperature was evaluated in the model C4 genus, Setaria. Recombinant inbred lines (RIL) derived from a Setaria italica x Setaria viridis cross were grown with ample or limiting water supply under field conditions in Illinois. An optical profilometer was used to rapidly assess stomatal patterning and canopy temperature was measured using infrared imaging. Stomatal density and canopy temperature were positively correlated but both were negatively correlated with total above-ground biomass. These trait relationships suggest a likely interaction between stomatal density and the other drivers of water use such as stomatal size and aperture. Multiple QTLs were identified for stomatal density and canopy temperature, including co-located QTLs on chromosomes 5 and 9. The direction of the additive effect of these QTLs on chromosome 5 and 9 were in accordance with the positive phenotypic relationship between these two traits. This suggests a common genetic architecture between stomatal patterning in the greenhouse and canopy transpiration in the field, while highlighting the potential of setaria as a model to understand the physiology and genetics of WUE in C4 species.

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