Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding

Developing drought-resilient crops for improving productivity of drought-prone ecologies

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Limitation of water is major abiotic factor affecting crop
productivity in different parts of world. Climate change is
likely to make drought stress even more severe in the
future, particularly in semi-arid and arid tropics.Therefore,
development of crops with better adaptation to water
stress is very critical to have sustainable crop production.
An attempt is made here to assess different approaches
undertaken to enhance crop performance under waterlimited conditions. Improving drought tolerance during
reproductive phase is often a high priority in crop breeding
programmes targeting drought-prone areas. Empirical
approach followed in different crops to enhance drought
tolerance has mainly addressed the issue of environment
for selection and of criteria for improving drought
adaptation. Using evaluation data from drought stressed
and non-stressed environments, many studies highlighted
importance of evaluation and selection in drought-prone
locations. Most physiological research has concentrated
on the identification of parameters that have found little
place in regular breeding programmes owing to the lack
of simple and easy techniques for selecting such
characters on a large scale. Use of adapted germplasm
has played a pivotal role in developing drought tolerant
crops. The introgression of elite genetic material into
drought-adapted germplasm has also been established
as an effective approach to enhance performance under
drought without compromising performance under stressfree environments. Molecular breeding is fast emerging
as a supplement approach to enhance drought adaptation
at a faster rate with greater precision. Efforts in this
direction started with the development of a molecular
marker-based genetic linkage maps in major food crops
followed by identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL)
determining yield under drought environments. Further
success would depend upon development of repeatable,
low-cost, high throughput phenotyping procedures that
reliably characterize genetic variation for drought
tolerance and its component traits.

Keywords: Adaptation, climate-resilience, drought, genetic improvement, selection criterion


Year: 2014
Volume: 74
Issue: Supplementry Issue
Article DOI: 10.5958/0975-6906.2014.00887.6
Print ISSN: 0019-5200
Online ISSN: 0975-6906



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