Unmanned aerial vehicles help wheat breeders

September 03, 2020

Breeding programs for crops with limited per-plant seed yield require one or more generations of seed increase to generate sufficient quantities for sowing replicated yield trials. The ability to accurately discard low potential lines at these early stages may reduce spending on costly yield testing.

Breeders typically rely on visual selection at these stages because extensive measurement of plant traits is difficult due to the large number of lines under evaluation. However, recent advances in remote sensing have made high-throughput data collection increasingly feasible.

Authors of a recent Crop Science article leveraged unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to record the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a measure of plant health, at the seed increase stage of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center's (CIMMYT) wheat breeding program. NDVI measurements were heritable and moderately correlated with grain yield, and results showed that selection based on NDVI would have outperformed visual selection.

Harnessing UAV-collected traits to inform selection at the early stages may improve resource-use efficiency in breeding programs and/or increase rates of genetic gain. As remote sensing technologies become increasingly automated and scalable, breeders will have access to comprehensive suites of traits with which to develop integrative selection strategies.

American Society of Agronomy

Related Plant Health Articles from Brightsurf:

More plant diversity, less pesticides
Increasing plant diversity enhances the natural control of insect herbivory in grasslands.

Plant pathogens reorder physical structures of effectors to escape plant recognition
Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete, or water mold, that causes the devastating potato disease known as late blight or potato blight and was responsible for the famous Irish Famine of the 1840s.

Plant living with only one leaf reveals fundamental genetics of plant growth
Clinging to the walls of tropical caves is a type of plant with a single leaf that continues to grow larger for as long as the plant survives.

Roadside hedges protect human health at the cost of plant health
Roadside hedges take a hit to their health while reducing pollution exposure for humans.

Overlooked: The role of bacterial viruses in plant health
We know how important bacteria and fungi are for the health of plants.

Statistical analyses of plant metabolites allow solid testing of plant defense theories
High-throughput analyses of small substances in Nicotiana attenuata reveal that plants re-organize their metabolism to produce highly-specific defense metabolites after insect attack.

Plant detectives develop new way to trace global spread of major plant disease
A team led by Oregon State University scientists has developed a way to potentially thwart the spread of a disease-causing bacterium that harms more than hundred plant species worldwide, an advance that could save the nursery industry billions of dollars a year.

SMART and MIT develop nanosensors for real-time plant health monitoring
MIT, SMART and TLL researchers have developed a way to study and track the internal communication of living plants using carbon nanotube sensors that can be embedded in plant leaves.

Ethylene sensor could help monitor plant health
To control flowering and fruit ripening, plants release the gaseous hormone ethylene.

Trust your gut on plant-based diets for heart health
Reducing animal product intake and following a primarily plant-based diet can decrease your risk of heart disease by minimizing the adverse effects of a gut-microbiome associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, according to research published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Read More: Plant Health News and Plant Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.