Genetic variations of root development traits under different concentrations and forms of nitrogen in Bangladeshi rice (Oryza sativa L.) accessions
Genetic variations in the root traits of rice remain unexplored in relation to varietal groups and diverse ecosystems. Therefore, we evaluated 257 Bangladeshi accessions, which included landraces and improved varieties belonging to four ecotypes (Aus, Aman, Boro and Jhum), to understand genetic variations in the total root length (TRL), maximum root length and root number under different concentrations of ammonium and nitrate nitrogen in hydroponic culture. There were large variations in all traits across all nitrogen levels. Active elongation of individual roots of the landrace type across all nitrogen conditions suggested a higher potential for the uptake of nutrients by extending roots distribution in any nitrogen environment, while the active development of primary root primordia in the improved type in the presence of nitrate suggested a higher potential for the uptake of nitrate from the soil surface by extending roots distribution around soil surface. Cluster analysis classified the examined accessions into two groups according to their TRL: cluster I with a longer TRL and cluster II with a shorter TRL across all nitrogen conditions. Each of these groups was further divided into two sub-clusters: sub-cluster Ia, in which the longer TRL resulted from active development of primary root primordia, sub-cluster Ib, in which the longer TRL resulted from active elongation of individual roots, sub-cluster IIa, in which the shorter TRL resulted from severe reduction of the elongation of individual roots, and sub-cluster IIb, in which the shorter TRL resulted from a moderate reduction in the elongation of individual roots. Further investigation revealed a difference in the composition of these four sub-clusters among the four ecotypes, indicating that Aman was the most diverse ecotype, followed by Aus. The root traits of these promising accessions could be exploited in the future to understand genetic and physiological mechanism(s) of adaptation to diverse ecosystems.