Phenotypic Plasticity: The Best Approach for Stress Selection

The abiotic stresses are the main factors associated to low productivity, since they are related to the soil and the conditions of the environmental adversities. These are difficult to control factors and when severely affects production dramatically. The expand agricultural production to new crop areas in the tropical regions is an important strategy to supply the huge demand for food and renewable energy sources. However toxic aluminum (Al) present in tropical soils is a limiting factor for agricultural production. The objective of this study was to identify Al-tolerant and Al-sensitive sugarcane genotypes, based on phenotypic plasticity. Eleven sugarcane genotypes were evaluated under non-stress and Al-stress conditions. Genetic variability regarding Al tolerance was observed among the sugarcane genotypes by phenotypic plasticity. Al-stress caused a reduction in the primary root length and in the shoot dry weight, but an increase in the lateral root length. There was a difference between the genotypes related to Al accumulation in the roots and shoot, suggesting the existence of distinct tolerance mechanisms. Based on phenotypic plasticity genotypes can be classified as tolerant or sensitive to Al. The phenotypic plasticity is a simple form of analysis; however, it has great information about the behavior of the genotype. We characterized genotypes associated with Al-stress. The characterization of contrasting genotypes will be important for breeding programs involving sugarcane yield in regions subjected to stress.

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