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Improving Plant Water Use Efficiency through Molecular Genetics

National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources, Research Division Portici (CNR-IBBR), via Università 133, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy
Department of Agricultural Science, University of Naples “Federico II”, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Arturo Alvino and Maria Isabel Freire Ribeiro Ferreira
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 31;
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
PDF [486 KB, uploaded 3 May 2017]


Improving crop performance under water-limiting conditions is essential for achieving environmentally sustainable food production. This requires significant progress in both the identification and characterization of key genetic and physiological processes involved in water uptake and loss. Plants regulate water uptake and loss through both developmental and environmental responses. These responses include: root morphology and architecture, cuticle development, stomatal development, and guard cell movements in response to the environment. Genes controlling root traits and stomatal development and guard cell movements strongly impact water use efficiency (WUE), and represent the best targets for molecular breeding programs. This article provides an overview of the complex networks of genes involved in water uptake and loss. These traits represent novel opportunities and strategies for genetic improvement of WUE and drought tolerance in crops. View Full-Text
Keywords: WUE; water use efficiency; drought tolerance; stomatal; guard cell; cuticle; water loss; water uptake WUE; water use efficiency; drought tolerance; stomatal; guard cell; cuticle; water loss; water uptake

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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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Ruggiero, A.; Punzo, P.; Landi, S.; Costa, A.; Van Oosten, M.J.; Grillo, S. Improving Plant Water Use Efficiency through Molecular Genetics. Horticulturae 2017, 3, 31.

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