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  • 1 National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) National Institute of Crop Science (NICS) Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8518 Japan
  • 2 International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) P. O. Box 5466 Aleppo Syria
  • 3 Tottori University Arid Land Research Center (ALRC) Tottori 680-0001 Japan
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In rain-fed agricultural regions, limited rainfall and frequent unpredictable droughts have resulted in low and variable wheat yields. Balanced water use between root water-uptake and remaining soil moisture is a key factor for drought adaptation. Thirteen recombinant inbred lines selected from a backcross population of synthetic-derived bread wheat were examined for the association among root water-uptake ability, grain yield and root elongation under limited water conditions using pot and field experiments. The effect of wax coating on grain formation under soil desiccation was also studied in two selected genotypes. There were significant variations in both root water-uptake ability estimated in pot experiments and grain yield obtained in field experiments among wheat genotypes. Infrared thermography indicated that canopy temperature was related to the leaf transpiration due to root water-uptake. A significant negative correlation was found between root water-uptake ability and grain weight, suggesting that lower root water-uptake ability was associated with higher grain weight. Genotype SYN-10 had the lowest water-uptake ability and the highest grain weight, indicating a type of ‘water-saving wheat’. Wax coating significantly reduced root water-uptake in wheat genotypes SYN-8 and SYN-10. Infrared thermography showed an increased leaf temperature due to the transpiration-suppression effect of the wax coating. Reductions in grain yield due to soil desiccation were found in SYN-8, but not in SYN-10. The higher grain yield of SYN-10 was attributed to more grains under soil desiccation. Grain yield of SYN-10 was decreased by the wax coating under soil desiccation. Dehydration tolerance of SYN-10 might be associated with the transpiration process of the leaves.

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