2017 Volume 11 Pages 70-78
Root plasticity is the key trait for plant adaptation to environmental stresses. To quantify phenotypic plasticity to its full extent in potential, it needs to be evaluated under contiguous environmental changes. For that purpose, we used the combination of chromosome segment substitution lines (Nipponbare/Kasalath CSSLs) and line source sprinkler (LSS) system of irrigation. For analysis, we first attempted to apply the coefficient of variation (CV) and norm of reaction that have been used as the conventional approaches, and then propose a new approach for quantification of root plasticity. Results revealed that CV was not linked to root plasticity under contiguous water gradient in this study. In contrast, norm of reaction was linked to root plasticity and better explained with curve than linear, especially for CSSL50 (the most plastic genotypes) under such gradient. Based on the norm of reaction with curve, root plasticity was calculated using the difference in total root length between CSSLs and the recurrent parent, Nipponbare. Further analysis of root plasticity in relation to dry matter production was also done. By applying the new approach, we confirmed that root plasticity expression was affected by the intensities of drought stress and genotypes, indicating that such root plasticity is genetically controlled. In addition, root plasticity effectively contributed to the dry matter production under the drought conditions and maximized at around 20% of soil moisture content (–0.04 MPa). By using CSSLs and LSS system, we successfully evaluated root plasticity under contiguous water gradient.