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High-tech tools may help small grains breeders 'see' valuable plant traits faster

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Date: 11/07/2012

Introduction:

Two tools from industry are being applied to the small grains breeding program by a Texas AgriLife Research team to help identify valuable drought-resistance traits in wheat faster and less intrusively than with normal practices. The study is looking at below- and above-ground traits using high-throughput phenotyping or characterization technologies. The goal is to differentiate types of plants with the aim of identifying traits that give the breeding line an advantage when it comes to drought resistance. Thompson's project is using both ground-penetrating radar and terrestrial laser-scanning tools to look at traits never before examined. This remote-sensing technology has been used to look at crop-water availability, but not to look directly at agricultural plant populations. The team believes they can adapt it so that for the first time, they will be able to look at the roots of wheat as it is growing in the field. (EurekAlert, 1/6/2012)

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