Roots and stomata are plants’ primary entry and exit points for water. Therefore, they are key targets for manipulation to improve bioenergy crop productivity, resilience and sustainability by reducing the risk of crop losses due to inadequate water supply. The number of pores, called stomata, on the leaf surface influences how much water the crop uses and also how much carbon dioxide can be captured by photosynthesis. The growth and development of grass roots are highly sensitive to variations in water supply while also controlling the ability of plants to access water in the soil. This project will perform new, in-depth surveys of gene expression patterns in developing leaves and roots. This will reveal which genes play key roles in driving variation in leaf and root structure and function. The knowledge generated will advance efforts to develop improved grass crops that can be used to produce bioenergy and bioproducts in an economically and ecologically sustainable manner.
Proposer: Andrew Leakey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Proposal: Transcriptomics of water use efficiency traits in sorghum and setaria