Modeling the relationship between light perception traits and brace root development in Zea mays L. [abstract]
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Maize (Zea mays L.) brace roots are responsible for physical stability in the soil and for water and nutrient acquisition in maize. The objective of this project is to investigate how traits related to light perception affect brace root development. Previous work has shown that light perception affects total root development and that reduced lighting conditions cause a decline in all root growth, even more drastically than in the rest of the plant (Y. Hébert, E. Guingo, and O. Loudet, 2001). Trait data for 98 diverse lines were collected primarily from 2004 to 2005 for traits related to light perception and maturity. Correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were performed to produce models that identify traits significantly affecting brace root development and their interactions. Our model shows that in 2005, light perception traits were not as significant as in 2004 indicating that the effect of light perception on brace root number may be environmentally dependent. This could be because the much hotter temperatures in 2005 caused the light perception mechanism to be saturated masking the interaction, whereas in 2004, the temperate environment caused the expression of the light perception and brace root interaction. The experimental model will then be validated using data collected on the identified traits from 25 diverse lines grown in the field.