Submitted to: Keystone Symposia
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 2012
Publication Date: January 17, 2013
Citation: Bassett, C.L., Glenn, D.M. 2013. Using Malus sieversii Ledeb., the wild apple progenitor of Malus H domestica Borkh., to identify genes contributing to water use efficiency and potential drought resistance [abstract]. Keystone Symposia. p. 9. Technical Abstract: Dehydration is a feature of many abiotic stresses, but is more often an agricultural threat in its own right. Plants have evolved numerous mechanisms for coping with dehydration, including morphological, biochemical, and molecular biological responses. These mechanisms are complex and involve various combinations of response mechanisms. In Kazakhstan, wild apples (Malus sieversii Ledeb.) have adapted to local habitats, including several xeric sites where rainfall is less than 250 mm annually. We have exploited this material to try to identify germplasm with enhanced water use and/or drought resistance. A common commercial cultivar, ‘Royal Gala’, was used as a standard for comparison. Two subpopulations of approximately 30 individuals representing greater than 95 percent of the diversity of populations adapted to xeric sites 6 and 9 were analyzed for stable carbon isotope incorporation, leaf area, and stomatal density, parameters commonly associated with screening for drought resistance and water use efficiency (WUE). Extremes were chosen from the site 6 material and used in an experiment to simulate a severe drought over a two-week period. Parallel seedlings of ‘Royal Gala’ were subjected to the same treatment. The results indicate that the most WUE lines tested were not significantly different from ‘Royal Gala’, but that the least WUE lines responded differently to the drought treatment.