Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Genotypic variability in the response to elevated CO2 of wheat lines differing in adaptive traits

Maryse Bourgault A C , M. Fernanda Dreccer A B , Andrew T. James C D and Scott C. Chapman A C

A CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, Qld 4067, Australia.

B CSIRO Plant Industry, Cooper Laboratory, Warrego Highway, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.

C CSIRO Plant Industry, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, Qld 4067, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: andrew.james@csiro.au

Functional Plant Biology 40(2) 172-184 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP12193
Submitted: 29 June 2012  Accepted: 26 November 2012   Published: 22 January 2013

Abstract

Atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from ~280 ppm in the pre-industrial era to 391 ppm in 2012. High CO2 concentrations stimulate photosynthesis in C3 plants such as wheat, but large variations have been reported in the literature in the response of yield and other traits to elevated CO2 (eCO2). Few studies have investigated genotypic variation within a species to address issues related to breeding for specific adaptation to eCO2. The objective of this study was to determine the response to eCO2 of 20 wheat lines which were chosen for their contrasting expression in tillering propensity, water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) accumulation in the stem, early vigour and transpiration efficiency. Experiments were performed in control environment chambers and in a glasshouse with CO2 levels controlled at either 420 ppm (local ambient) or 700 ppm (elevated). The results showed no indication of a differential response to eCO2 for any of these lines and adaptive traits were expressed in a consistent manner in ambient and elevated CO2 environments. This implies that for these traits, breeders could expect consistent rankings in the future, assuming these results are validated under field conditions. Additional climate change impacts related to drought and high temperature are also expected to interact with these traits such that genotype rankings may differ from the unstressed condition.

Additional keywords: adaptation, climate change, Triticum aestivum.


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