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Diverse Physiological and Physical Responses among Wild, Landrace and Elite Barley Varieties Point to Novel Breeding Opportunities

Stevens, Jim and Jones, Matthew Alan and Lawson, Tracy (2021) 'Diverse Physiological and Physical Responses among Wild, Landrace and Elite Barley Varieties Point to Novel Breeding Opportunities.' Agronomy, 11 (5). ISSN 2073-4395

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Abstract

Climate change from elevated [CO2] may reduce water availability to crops through changes in precipitation and higher temperatures. However, agriculture already accounts for 70% of human consumption of water. Stomata, pores in the leaf surface, mediate exchange of water and CO2 for the plant. In crops including barley, the speed of stomatal response to changing environmental conditions is as important as maximal responses and can thus affect water use efficiency. Wild barleys and landraces which predate modern elite lines offer the breeder the potential to find unexploited genetic diversity. This study aimed to characterize natural variation in stomatal anatomy and leaf physiology and to link these variations to yield. Wild, landrace and elite barleys were grown in a polytunnel and a controlled environment chamber. Physiological responses to changing environments were measured, along with stomatal anatomy and yield. The elite barley lines did not have the fastest or largest physiological responses to light nor always the highest yields. There was variation in stomatal anatomy, but no link between stomatal size and density. The evidence suggests that high photosynthetic capacity does not translate into yield, and that landraces and wild barleys have unexploited physiological responses that should interest breeders.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2021 12:03
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2021 12:03
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30692

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