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Understanding regulatory networks and engineering for enhanced drought tolerance in plants

Author(s): Valliyodan B, Nguyen HT

Abstract

Drought stress is one of the major limitations to crop productivity. To develop crop plants with enhanced tolerance of drought stress, a basic understanding of physiological, biochemical and gene regulatory networks is essential. Various functional genomics tools have helped to advance our understanding of stress signal perception and transduction, and of the associated molecular regulatory network. These tools have revealed several stress-inducible genes and various transcription factors that regulate the drought-stress-inducible systems. Translational genomics of these candidate genes using model plants provided encouraging results, but the field testing of transgenic crop plants for better performance and yield is still minimal. Better understanding of the specific roles of various metabolites in crop stress tolerance will give rise to a strategy for the metabolic engineering of crop tolerance of drought.

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