Special Issue "Genetic Improvement of Cereals for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Supplies"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 22 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Muhammad Amjad Nawaz
E-Mail Website1 Website2 Website3
Guest Editor
Department of Bio-Economics and Food Safety, School of Economics and Management, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia
Interests: plant genomics; evolutionary phylogenomics; grain legumes; soybean; plant breeding; cereals; genetic improvement
Prof. Dr. Kirill S. Golokhvast
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Siberian Federal Scientific Center of Agrobiotechnology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoobsk, Russia
2. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources, Sankt-Petersburg, Russia
Interests: plant genetic resources; sustainability; crop improvement; toxicology; environmental protection
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Considering population growth forecasts, we urgently need a transformation in agriculture and food supplies. Research in cereals has played a role in food security and sustainable agriculture throughout human history. This has been made possible by increasing cereal yields by making them more resilient to biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the current trajectory of the yield enhancement is insufficient to ensure we will be able to feed the world’s population by 2050. Even now, more than 690 million people remain hungry. For the past two to three years, the number of undernourished people has been increasing. Recently, a consensus has emerged among cereal breeders that we need cereals with higher and sustainable production against the backdrop of climate change. A recent estimate has suggested that by 2050, we will need an overall 40% increase in cereal production. Such a big change in next 29 years is possible by the genetic improvement of major, minor, and neglected cereal crops. In particular, the recent developments in gene manipulation techniques and genomics are greatly assisting in understanding the pathways and genes that can significantly contribute towards yield improvement. Advancements in genomic technologies have expedited cereal breeding and yield enhancement by focusing on environment resilience and sustainability. This Special Issue will focus on such efforts by the global cereal community.

Dr. Muhammad Amjad Nawaz
Prof. Dr. Kirill S. Golokhvast
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Cereal crops
  • Genetic improvement
  • Cereal genomics
  • Sustainable crop production
  • Yield improvement
  • Climate change
  • Abiotic stress
  • Biotic stress
  • Environment resilience

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Phytohormonal and Transcriptomic Response of Hulless Barley Leaf in Response to Powdery Mildew Infection
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061248 - 19 Jun 2021
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Powdery mildew (PM) caused by Blumeria graminis (DC.) Golovin ex Speer f. sp. hordei Marchal (Bgh) is one of the major yield reducing diseases in hulless barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f.). Genotypes with contrasting resistance to PM [...] Read more.
Powdery mildew (PM) caused by Blumeria graminis (DC.) Golovin ex Speer f. sp. hordei Marchal (Bgh) is one of the major yield reducing diseases in hulless barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f.). Genotypes with contrasting resistance to PM offer unique opportunities to explore the transcriptome in order to understand the expression changes in genes and pathways. In this study, we explored the phytohormone levels and transcriptome of a Bgh susceptible (XL19) and resistant (ZYM1288) hulless barley genotypes at 0, 5, 12, 24, and 36 h post infection (hpi) with Bgh. We found relatively higher levels of abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, and cytokinins in ZYM1288. The transcriptome analyses identified 31,354 genes that were enriched in signaling, energy, and defense related pathways. Higher numbers of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found in XL19 as compared to ZYM1288 after 5 (3603 vs. 2341) and 12 hpi (3530 vs. 2416). However, after 24 and 36 hpi, the number of DEGs was higher in ZYM1288 as compared to XL19 i.e., 3625 vs. 3034 and 5855 vs. 2725, respectively. Changes in hormone levels drove downstream expression changes in plant-hormone signaling that helped ZYM1288 to perform better under Bgh infection. The expression of DEGs in MAPK-signaling and Toll-like receptor signaling pathways, glucosinolate biosynthesis, glutathione metabolism, brassinosteroid metabolism, and energy related pathways indicated their common roles in defense against PM. Key genes related to PM-resistance were upregulated in the resistant genotype. These genes provide key information towards differences in both genotypes towards resistance to PM. The transcriptomic signatures explored in this study will broaden our understanding towards molecular regulation of resistance to PM in hulless barley. Full article
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