Article ID: 16185
We developed a new method of using seedling trays to evaluate root angle distribution in rice (Oryza sativa. L), and found a wide genetic variation among cultivars. The seedling tray method can be used to evaluate in detail the growth angles of rice crown roots at the seedling stage by allocating nine scores (10° to 90°). Unlike basket methods, it can handle large plant populations over a short growth period (only 14 days). By using the method, we characterized the root angle distributions of 97 accessions into two cluster groups: A and B. The numbers of accessions in group A were limited, and these were categorized as shallow rooting types including soil-surface root. Group B included from shallow to deep rooting types; both included Indica and Japonica Group cultivars, lowland and upland cultivars, and landraces and improved types. No relationship between variation in root vertical angle and total root number was found. The variation in root angle distribution was not related to differentiation between the Japonica and Indica Groups, among ecosystems used for rice cultivation, or among degrees of genetic improvement. The new evaluation method and associated information on genetic variation of rice accessions will be useful in root architecture breeding of rice.