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Identification Of Drought Tolerant Populations At Multi-stage Growth Phases In Temperate Maize Germplasm

Abderahmane Djemel, Lorena Álvarez-Iglesias, Nuria Pedrol, Ana López-Malvar, Amando Ordás, Pedro Revilla
Published 2018 · Biology
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Drought is one of the main abiotic stresses in agriculture worldwide. Drought could increase under the predicted scenario of climate change, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Breeding for drought tolerance requires screening of germplasm in order to identify sources of tolerance; therefore, were evaluated 51 diverse open-pollinated maize populations from various temperate regions under increasing levels of drought at germination, seedling establishment and early growth. There was genetic variability for drought tolerance among populations at all growth phases. Several populations from diverse origins and germplasm groups exhibited high germination across stress treatments. Some of those populations had high ability to sustain root development and showed differential performance depending on the stage of development and the phenotypic aspect considered. In general, BS17 showed high germination rate, fast seedling growth and early vigor under drought. Longlellow and Grano de trigo showed high germination and growth establishment rates, whereas AS3(HT)C3 showed high germination rate and early vigor under drought. The photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration of Enano Levantino/Hembrilla (ELH) and BS17 populations were not affected by drought. Water use efficiency of BS17, ELH, Northwestern Dent (NWD) and Viana was not affected by drought. Some of these populations are promising sources of drought tolerance which can provide different mechanisms of drought tolerance at different stages of plant development. Therefore, these results open new possibilities of breeding for drought tolerance by combining those mechanisms through crosses among potential donors. Furthermore, these findings indicate that it is worthwhile to study the genetic and biological basis of such mechanisms.
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