Biotechnology - Environment - Food and Water

Drought-Tolerant Crops? Targeting Carbon May Be the Way Forward

Research shows that the secret to crop drought resilience may lie within a sugar-signalling pathway.

With the demand to feed the continually booming population, the need to surmount many agricultural concerns is of great importance.

The current major restriction on global crop yields is drought, with crop breeding not yet deemed beneficial with only one drought-tolerant genetically modified (GM) crop existing on the market. A predictable fact, given the complexity of controlling such a multigene trait.

Griffiths and Paul suggest a certain sugar-signalling pathway could instead be the goal to overcome this agricultural problem for global crops. This answer could kill two birds with one stone, by improving both crop resistance to drought and other stresses, along with increasing crop productivity. With this mechanism being underutilized in crops, there is room for modification by genetic modification, natural variation and a new chemical approach that is explained in an Open Access article here.

Although targeting carbon may not be the obvious mechanism in overcoming drought, this perspective highlights the importance in understanding fundamental crop science in order to overcome certain agricultural problems.

 

Read more research like this in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

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