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Type: Journal article
Title: Translating knowledge about abiotic stress tolerance to breeding programmes
Author: Gilliham, M.
Able, J.
Roy, S.
Citation: The Plant Journal, 2017; 90(5):898-917
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0960-7412
Statement of
Matthew Gilliham, Jason A. Able and Stuart J. Roy
Abstract: Plant breeding and improvements in agronomic practice are making a consistent contribution to increasing global crop production year upon year. However, the rate of yield improvement currently lags behind the targets set to produce enough food to meet the demands of the predicted global population in 2050. Furthermore, crops that are exposed to harmful abiotic environmental factors (abiotic stresses, e.g. water limitation, salinity, extreme temperature) are prone to reduced yields. Here, we briefly describe the processes undertaken in conventional breeding programmes, which are usually designed to improve yields in near-optimal conditions rather than specifically breeding for improved crop yield stability under stressed conditions. While there is extensive fundamental research activity that examines mechanisms of plant stress tolerance, there are few examples that apply this research to improving commercial crop yields. There are notable exceptions, and we highlight some of these to demonstrate the magnitude of yield gains that could be made by translating agronomic, phenological and genetic solutions focused on improving or mitigating the effect of abiotic stress in the field; in particular, we focus on improvements in crop water-use efficiency and salinity tolerance. We speculate upon the reasons for the disconnect between research and research translation. We conclude that to realise untapped rapid gains towards food security targets new funding structures need to be embraced. Such funding needs to serve both the core and collaborative activities of the fundamental, pre-breeding and breeding research communities in order to expedite the translation of innovative research into the fields of primary producers.
Keywords: Yield stability; yield potential; food security; transpiration efficiency; HKT1; CIPK16; Drysdale; partial root zone drying; Triticum aestivum; Sorghum bicolor.
Rights: © 2016 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
DOI: 10.1111/tpj.13456
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Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications
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