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Drought Tolerance in Crop Plants

Author(s): Beatriz Xoconostle-Cazares | Francisco Arturo Ramirez-Ortega | Leonardo Flores-Elenes | Roberto Ruiz-Medrano

Journal: American Journal of Plant Physiology
ISSN 1557-4539

Volume: 5;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 241;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Drought tolerance | crops | breeders | genetic engineering

One of the most important constraints for agriculture is water limitation. More recently, global warming may be worsening this situation in most agricultural regions. Thus, it is quite relevant to understand the mechanisms that enable plants to cope with water deficit. Indeed, plants show a wide range of adaptations, at different levels, to drought stress. The present review describes strategies used by plants to adapt to low water potential at the physiological, biochemical and molecular levels. This review also describes several approaches carried out by breeders in order to obtain varieties of agronomically-important crops with improved drought tolerance, such as traditional breeding and those based on molecular markers for drought tolerance. Strategies involving genetic engineering are also detailed, some of which show great promise. It is concluded that a combination of the aforementioned strategies will be necessary for crop production under generalized water limitation in the near future.
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