Genetic Evaluation of Maize Root Complexity

Joana Novais, Ton Grift, and Martin Bohn, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.

The development of a healthy root system is an important part of the overall plant development program. Root branching and architecture are tightly linked to plant survival under abiotic (e.g., drought, flooding, nutrient deficiencies) and biotic (e.g., competition among plants, diseases, pests) stress conditions. The objectives of this study were to evaluate a large set of maize recombinant inbred lines derived from the random mated IBM (B73ŚMo17) population for primary root complexity characteristics including fractal dimension and their dynamics, and map and characterize quantitative trait loci in the maize genome affecting the complexity of primary root systems in maize.