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Genotypic variation for drought tolerance in Beta vulgaris.


ABSTRACT: Insufficient soil moisture during summer months is now the major cause of sugar beet yield losses in the UK. However, selection for increased drought tolerance has not been a breeding priority until recently. Genetic variation for drought tolerance is an essential prerequisite for the development of more stress-tolerant varieties, but commercial sugar beet varieties seem to have similar yield responses to drought. The objective of this study was to assess the degree of genotypic variation for drought tolerance within a wide range of sugar beet germplasm and genebank accessions within Beta. Thirty sugar beet genotypes were screened under field drought conditions, and putative drought tolerant and sensitive lines (in terms of yield reduction in polythene-covered vs. irrigated plots) were identified. Significant genotype x water treatment interactions were found for dry matter yield and relative leaf expansion rate. Genotypic differences for drought susceptibility index were also significant. Differential sensitivity of seedling shoot growth to water deficit was examined by comparing 350 genebank accessions in a simple growth chamber screen. Methods of data management were devised to highlight lines for entry into subsequent field tests. The results of the field and seedling screens indicate that there is variation for tolerance to water deficits within sugar beet and related types, and that there are lines that show greater drought tolerance than selected commercial varieties. Divergent lines showing contrasting behaviour should aid in the identification of key morpho-physiological traits that confer drought tolerance.

SUBMITTER: Ober ES 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4233805 | BioStudies | 2002-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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