Data from: Donald’s ideotype and growth redundancy: a pot experimental test using an old and a modern spring wheat cultivar
Zhu, Li; Zhang, Da-Yong (2013), Data from: Donald’s ideotype and growth redundancy: a pot experimental test using an old and a modern spring wheat cultivar, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m9m4f
Human selection for high crop yield under water-limited conditions should have led modern cereal cultivars to invest less in root biomass, be it unconsciously. To test this hypothesis we conducted a pot experiment with two spring wheat cultivars, one old and one modern, both widely grown in the semi-arid regions of China. Using the replacement series method introduced by de Wit, we showed that the older landrace (Monkhead) was significantly more competitive than the more-modern cultivar (92-46). However, when grown in pure stand, old Monkhead had grown root biomass 3.5 times modern 92-46, whereas modern 92-46 gained a 20% higher grain yield. We also found modern 92-46 significantly increased root biomass per plant and root allocation (i.e., root biomass/total individual biomass) as its frequency in mixtures decreased, whereas old Monkhead did not respond in a similar way. This result suggests that the roots of modern cultivars may have gained an ability to recognize neighboring root systems and show more plastic self-restraining response to intra-cultivar competition.