University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Phenomics of stomata and WUE in bioenergy sorghum

Phenomics of stomata and WUE in bioenergy sorghum

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  • UserJohn Ferguson, Kromdijk group World_link
  • ClockThursday 25 February 2021, 15:00-16:00
  • HouseOnline.

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Now at 3pm

Water use efficiency (WUE) is a key target for improving crop sustainability. At the basic level, WUE is defined as the exchange of H2O and CO2 between the leaf and the atmosphere, which is regulated by the aperture and patterning of stomata. In sorghum and other C4 species, mechanistic modelling suggests that reductions in stomatal conductance may achieve cost-free improvements to WUE and facilitate the cultivation of bioenergy sorghum in marginal lands.

Through manipulating a putative negative regulator of stomatal lineage initiation, we have reduced stomatal conductance and improved WUE in sorghum. Despite the relative success of this approach, our knowledge of the regulation of stomatal patterning in C4 crops is still poor. Improving our understanding of this process is constrained by a phenotyping bottleneck. To this end, we have developed a high-throughput phenotyping platform to measure gas exchange and leaf structural traits. This platform was employed to quantify natural variation in WUE -associated traits in >800 field grown sorghum varieties across two growing seasons. We utilised both genetic sequence and transcript variation to perform joint GWAS -TWAS analyses to identify candidate genes underlying the observed variation. As a complimentary approach, we additionally developed a high-throughput methodology for measuring WUE at the biomass level in the same sorghum diversity panel. Both the high WUE accessions identified and the candidate genes outlined represent a key resource for future sorghum improvement.

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This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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