Genetic components of water use efficiency in the model grass Setaria

Increasing water use efficiency is important for improving crop yields in diverse environments. This has been difficult due to the complex morphological and biochemical processes involved in water use and plant growth. Feldman and colleagues use a high-throughput phenotyping platform to monitor an interspecific Setaria italica x Setaria viridis recombinant inbred line population under water stress. Plant size and water use were correlated so a linear modeling approach was used to understand deviations from this relationship at the genotypic level. Heritable traits that describe plant size, water use and water use efficiency were found, as well as major loci that underlie two pleiotropic components of water use efficiency. These data can be used to better understand the genetic components of plant size, water use and water use efficiency in grasses. (Summary by Julia Miller) Plant Physiol. 10.1104/pp.18.00146