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Final Report Summary - ELITE (Mapping quantitative trait loci for water use efficiency in potato (Solanum tuberosum).)

Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is very sensitive to water-stress when compared to other species.
Climate models predict that drought episodes will become more frequent due to the long–term effects of global warming thus putting potato sustainable production at immense risk. In our previous incoming phase of the study held in JHI Dundee UK, the researcher and his colleagues focussed on improving knowledge base for drought tolerance and water use efficiency (WUE) in potato. Specifically part target was to develop a knowledge base on physiological mechanisms of potato crop adaptation to water stress. In addressing this target the researcher and his colleagues exploited the existing genetic variation in a diploid mapping population (06H1). Results showed that substantial variation exists in canopy temperature between genotypes while demonstrating a link between high stomatal conductance and yield with the help of infra- red thermography (IRT) under well-watered field grown conditions. In order to evaluate the effect of limited water stress on different physiological and morphological parameters under tropical drought conditions in Nigeria, genotypes from 06H1 population representing extremes in respect to transpiration/canopy temperature were selected. The genotypes were freighted as whole tubers after due phytosanitory certification and import permits were granted by the respective regulatory agencies in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. The trial in NRCRI, Nigeria was conducted under field conditions in in a randomised complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. Morphological traits such as fresh shoot weight, dry shoot weight, fresh root weight, dry root weight, number of tubers, and tuber yield were considered at this adaptive stage. The genotypes exhibited genotypic differences in agronomic and morphological traits under limited water field conditions. Cultivars that show robust rooting system had better tuber yield and hence considered as potential parents in NRCRI drought breeding programs. This dataset will guide our choice in agronomic and morphological parameters to select under water stress environment in marginal potato production zone like Nigeria while further screening will be done at the physiological level for correlation studies.

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