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Review: High-throughput phenotyping to enhance the use of crop genetic resources

Rebetzke, G.J., Jimenez-Berni, J., Fischer, R.A., Deery, D.M., Smith, D.J.
Plant science 2019 v.282 pp. 40-48
air, air temperature, alleles, biomass, breeding lines, breeding programs, canopy, climate change, disease control, genetic background, genetic improvement, genetic variance, genetic variation, genomics, heritability, landraces, major genes, marker-assisted selection, nutrient use efficiency, phenomics, phenotype, phenotypic selection, plant breeding, soil temperature, stomatal conductance, synthetic products, wheat
Improved genetic, genomic and statistical technologies have increased the capacity to enrich breeding populations for key alleles underpinning adaptation and continued genetic gain. In turn, directed genomic selection together with increased heritability will reduce genetic variance to narrow the genetic base in many crop breeding programs. Diverse genetic resources (GR), including wild and weedy relatives, landraces and reconstituted synthetics, have potential to contribute novel alleles for key traits. Targeted trait identification may also identify genetic diversity in addressing new challenges including the need for modified root architecture, greater nutrient-use efficiency, and adaptation to warmer air and soil temperatures forecast with climate change. Yet while core collections and other GR sources have historically been invaluable for major gene control of disease and subsoil constraints, the mining of genetically (and phenotypically) complex traits in GR remains a significant challenge owing to reduced fertility, limited seed quantities and poor adaptation through linkage drag with undesirable alleles. High-throughput field phenomics (HTFP) offers the opportunity to capture phenotypically complex variation underpinning adaptation in traditional phenotypic selection or statistics-based breeding programs. Targeted HTFP will permit the reliable phenotyping of greater numbers of GR-derived breeding lines using smaller plot sizes and at earlier stages of population development to reduce the duration of breeding cycles and the loss of potentially important alleles with linkage drag. Two key opportunities are highlighted for use of HTFP in selection among GR-derived wheat breeding lines for greater biomass and stomatal conductance through canopy temperature.