Plant roots exploit morphological plasticity to adapt and respond to different soil environments. We characterized the root system architecture of nine wild tomato species and four cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) varieties during early growth in a controlled environment. Additionally, the root system architecture of six near-isogenic lines from the tomato 'Micro-Tom' mutant collection was also studied. These lines were affected in key genes of ethylene, abscisic acid, and anthocyanin pathways. We found extensive differences between the studied lines for a number of meaningful morphological traits, such as lateral root distribution, lateral root length or adventitious root development, which might represent adaptations to local soil conditions during speciation and subsequent domestication. Taken together, our results provide a general quantitative framework for comparing root system architecture in tomato seedlings and other related species.
Keywords: adventitious root development; lateral root development; plant phenomics; root growth analysis; root system architecture.