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Going back to roots:

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Slides presented during "How legume science is enabling industry "

Webinar 6: European legumes in transition 4th May 2021

"Going back to roots: combining phenotyping, ecophysiology, and molecular physiology"

Presented by:   Dr Christophe Salon - Research Director - French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)

The capacity of plants to extract nutrients and water from a given volume of soil is heavily influenced by i) root system architecture, which is a combination of traits such as root number, angle, elongation, and branching, and by ii) root functions towards hydromineral resources uptake. As such root traits are now recognized as a key target to cope with poor soil fertility, adapt plant to low input systems and face/mitigate climate change associated constraints. Root traits have been poorly considered in breeding programs, often based on plant selection under high input conditions which optimise the environment for plant growth while the reverse has now to be done. A great opportunity is to assess how plant roots and microorganism beneficial interactions can lead to increased resource use efficiencies. Despite this, relations between plants and microbial communities are still poorly understood and not considered in breeding. To this aim, adopting an agroecology approach, multiple disciplines, methods, and tools are being federated to understand adaptation of plants to biotic and abiotic constraints focussing on roots, in fine for the choice of innovative varieties by breeders. Together with models, physio genetic determinants can be assessed. Based on a selection of recent or ongoing research projects, on various crops, not only grain legumes, this talk will illustrate how tools and methods can be used in a multidisciplinary approach to identify key genes playing major roles in plant adaptation to drought or other stresses.

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The Leg Value project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727672.

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