Biotech Updates

Scientists Map Water Saving Traits in Pearl Millet

March 23, 2012

Low rate of transpiration in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) under fully irrigated conditions could reduce plant water use and increase water availability during grain filling stage as well as during the terminal drought tolerance stage. Scientist Jana Kholova and colleagues at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) developed 113 recombinant inbred lines from a cross between a terminal drought-sensitive cultivar (H77/833-2) and a terminal drought-tolerant cultivar (PRLT2/89-33) to map the transpiration rate, organ weights, leaf area and thickness, and investigate the interactions of these water saving characteristics.

The scientists found out that the water saving traits co-map with a complex genes involved in terminal drought tolerance. Thus, various models for plant water use are present or could be made based on specific allele combinations that lead to specific physiological characteristics for adaptation to a range of terminal drought conditions.

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