High resolution mapping of traits related to whole-plant transpiration under increasing evaporative demand in wheat

Remy Schoppach, Julian D. Taylor, Elisabeth Majerus, Elodie Claverie, Ute Baumann, Radoslaw Suchecki, Delphine Fleury, Walid Sadok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD) is a key component of drought and has a strong influence on yields. Whole-plant transpiration rate (TR) response to increasing VPD has been linked to drought tolerance in wheat, but because of its challenging phenotyping, its genetic basis remains unexplored. Further, the genetic control of other key traits linked to daytime TR such as leaf area, stomata densities and - more recently - nocturnal transpiration remains unknown. Considering the presence of wheat phenology genes that can interfere with drought tolerance, the aim of this investigation was to identify at an enhanced resolution the genetic basis of the above traits while investigating the effects of phenology genes Ppd-D1 and Ppd-B1. Virtually all traits were highly heritable (heritabilities from 0.61 to 0.91) and a total of mostly trait-specific 68 QTL were detected. Six QTL were identified for TR response to VPD, with one QTL (QSLP.ucl-5A) individually explaining 25.4% of the genetic variance. This QTL harbored several genes previously reported to be involved in ABA signaling, interaction with DREB2A and root hydraulics. Surprisingly, nocturnal TR and stomata densities on both leaf sides were characterized by highly specific and robust QTL. In addition, negative correlations were found between TR and leaf area suggesting trade-offs between these traits. Further, Ppd-D1 had strong but opposite effects on these traits, suggesting an involvement in this trade-off. Overall, these findings revealed novel genetic resources while suggesting a more direct role of phenology genes in enhancing wheat drought tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2847-2860
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS, contract #1.5108.12).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author 2016.


  • DREB2A
  • Ppd-D1
  • QTL
  • Triticum aestivum
  • drought
  • leaf area
  • night-time transpiration
  • phenology genes
  • plant hydraulics
  • stomata conductance
  • vapor pressure deficit


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