Genetic Mechanisms Involved in the Formation of Root System Architecture

  • Yuka Kitomi
  • Jun-Ichi Itoh
  • Yusaku Uga


Root system is essential for absorbing water and nutrients as well as anchoring shoots to the ground. Understanding the genetic mechanisms related to the formation of root system architecture is necessary for improving rice productivity. Here, we first describe the potential of genetic improvement using quantitative trait locus (QTL) for root system architecture based on our field experiments using a genetic material of DEEPER ROOTING 1, which is a rice QTL controlling root growth angle. Next, we summarize the accumulated knowledge on the genetic mechanisms of root formation in rice including the development of the radicle, crown roots, lateral roots, and root hairs. We also overview the current status of the genetic dissection of root system architecture in rice, namely, the identification and characterization of natural and artificial alleles. Root traits are rarely chosen as breeding targets because their evaluation in a large number of plants under field conditions is more laborious and time-consuming than evaluation of aboveground traits. The genetic dissection of root system architecture would facilitate the breeding of root traits, eventually improving rice yield irrespective of soil and other environmental conditions.


Fibrous root system Ideotype Mutant Phytohormone QTL Root formation Root morphology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Breeding Material Development Unit, Division of Basic ResearchInstitute of Crop Science, National Agriculture and Food Research OrganizationTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Plant Breeding & Genetics, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of International Agricultural Development, Graduate School of AgricultureTokyo University of AgricultureTokyoJapan

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