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Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020026

Selection and Breeding of Suitable Crop Genotypes for Drought and Heat Periods in a Changing Climate: Which Morphological and Physiological Properties Should Be Considered?

1
Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev Street, Bldg. 21, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
2
Institute of Plant Sciences and Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research (OCCR), University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, CH-3013 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Annelie Holzkämper
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 24 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 1 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Abstract

Selection and breeding of genotypes with improved drought/heat tolerance become key issues in the course of global change with predicted increased frequency of droughts or heat waves. Several morphological and physiological plant traits must be considered. Rooting depth, root branching, nutrient acquisition, mycorrhization, nodulation in legumes and the release of nutrients, assimilates or phytohormones to the shoot are relevant in root systems. Xylem embolism and its repair after a drought, development of axillary buds and solute channeling via xylem (acropetal) and phloem (basipetal and acropetal) are key processes in the stem. The photosynthetically active biomass depends on leaf expansion and senescence. Cuticle thickness and properties, epicuticular waxes, stomatal regulation including responses to phytohormones, stomatal plugs and mesophyll resistance are involved in optimizing leaf water relations. Aquaporins, dehydrins, enzymes involved in the metabolism of compatible solutes (e.g., proline) and Rubisco activase are examples for proteins involved in heat or drought susceptibility. Assimilate redistribution from leaves to maturing fruits via the phloem influences yield quantity and quality. Proteomic analyses allow a deeper insight into the network of stress responses and may serve as a basis to identify suitable genotypes, although improved stress tolerance will have its price (often lowered productivity under optimal conditions). View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; heat; climate change; crop genotypes; morphology; physiology; stress susceptibility; assimilate allocation; yield drought; heat; climate change; crop genotypes; morphology; physiology; stress susceptibility; assimilate allocation; yield
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Simova-Stoilova, L.; Vassileva, V.; Feller, U. Selection and Breeding of Suitable Crop Genotypes for Drought and Heat Periods in a Changing Climate: Which Morphological and Physiological Properties Should Be Considered? Agriculture 2016, 6, 26.

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