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Comparative Aerial and Ground Based High Throughput Phenotyping for the Genetic Dissection of NDVI as a Proxy for Drought Adaptive Traits in Durum Wheat

Jeffrey W. White, Giuseppe E. Condorelli, Marco Maccaferri, Maria Newcomb, Pedro Andrade-Sanchez, Andrew N. French, Giuseppe Sciara, Rick Ward, Roberto Tuberosa
Frontiers in plant science 2018 v.9 no.893 pp. -
Triticum turgidum, accounting, biomass, chromosomes, developmental stages, drought, durum wheat, genome-wide association study, leaf chlorophyll content, leaves, models, normalized difference vegetation index, phenology, phenotype, phenotypic variation, quantitative trait loci, water, water stress
High-throughput phenotyping platforms (HTPPs) provide novel opportunities to more effectively dissect the genetic basis of drought-adaptive traits. This genome-wide association study (GWAS) compares the results obtained with two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and a ground-based platform used to measure Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in a panel of 248 elite durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. Durum Desf.) accessions measured at different growth stages and water regimes. Our results suggest the superiority of aerial over ground-based platforms to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for NDVI particularly under terminal drought stress, with 28 and 16 single QTLs detected, respectively, and accounting for 89.6 vs. 64.7% phenotypic variance based on multiple QTL models. Additionally, the durum panel was investigated for leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD), leaf rolling and dry biomass under terminal drought stress. In total, 46 significant QTLs affected NDVI across platforms, 22 of which showed concomitant effects on leaf greenness, two on leaf rolling and ten on biomass. Among the seven QTL hotspots on chromosomes 1A, 2B, 4A, 5A, 5B, 6B and 7A that influenced NDVI and other drought-adaptive traits, six showed per se effects unrelated to phenology.