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Network Candidate Genes in Breeding for Drought Tolerant Crops

Institute of Biological Sciences, Department of Plant Genetics, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany
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Academic Editors: Ann Cuypers and Tony Remans
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(7), 16378-16400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160716378
Received: 30 May 2015 / Revised: 9 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress and Gene Networks in Plants)
Climate change leading to increased periods of low water availability as well as increasing demands for food in the coming years makes breeding for drought tolerant crops a high priority. Plants have developed diverse strategies and mechanisms to survive drought stress. However, most of these represent drought escape or avoidance strategies like early flowering or low stomatal conductance that are not applicable in breeding for crops with high yields under drought conditions. Even though a great deal of research is ongoing, especially in cereals, in this regard, not all mechanisms involved in drought tolerance are yet understood. The identification of candidate genes for drought tolerance that have a high potential to be used for breeding drought tolerant crops represents a challenge. Breeding for drought tolerant crops has to focus on acceptable yields under water-limited conditions and not on survival. However, as more and more knowledge about the complex networks and the cross talk during drought is available, more options are revealed. In addition, it has to be considered that conditioning a crop for drought tolerance might require the production of metabolites and might cost the plants energy and resources that cannot be used in terms of yield. Recent research indicates that yield penalty exists and efficient breeding for drought tolerant crops with acceptable yields under well-watered and drought conditions might require uncoupling yield penalty from drought tolerance. View Full-Text
Keywords: candidate genes; breeding; yield penalty; drought tolerance; genetic variants candidate genes; breeding; yield penalty; drought tolerance; genetic variants
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Krannich, C.T.; Maletzki, L.; Kurowsky, C.; Horn, R. Network Candidate Genes in Breeding for Drought Tolerant Crops. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 16378-16400.

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