Research Topic

Harnessing Cytokinin Biology in Crop Biofortification and Enhanced Food Security

About this Research Topic

One of the major consequences of an increasing global population is the increased requirement of food, fiber, and fuel while recognizing the need for sustainable production methods operating within a changing global environment. Crops are key resources of calories and nutrients for human populations and consist of diverse plant families. How can we feed the increasing world population with limited resources? This question is very common in both developed and developing countries. Traditional crop improvement techniques are available, but there is a limitation in their use, and they are not always applicable to all crop types and seasons. Now, what will be the next step? This is always a question in the mind of crop science researchers.

For the last two decades, crop scientists have worked on controlling the growth and development of crops through cytokinin biology. Cytokinins (CKs) have been known to play an important role in seed development since zeatin was first identified in high levels in developing seeds. Cytokinins are N6-substituted adenine-related compounds. Trans-zeatin and isopentenyl-adenine are the most active and abundant CKs, implicated in the control of both shoot and root architecture, promotion of cell division in the shoot, delay in leaf senescence, fruit and seed development, regulation of nutrient allocation, response to biotic and abiotic stresses, and regulation of auxin action and distribution. Their homeostasis is controlled by the rate of de novo synthesis and the rate of catabolism. Their role in yield improvement and biofortification has been successfully established. In this way, micronutrient-enriched legumes and cereal varieties are developed through biofortification and emerging genome editing techniques. These improved and biofortified varieties can also help to solve the global problem of hunger and hidden hunger.

Although the development of the advanced level next-generation sequencing and LAMP-based isothermal PCR techniques provides a broad knowledge platform to deduce and establish significant yield improvement approaches, there is a lack of stable, speedy, and concrete routes in this area. The use of mutation breeding and genome editing techniques to alter the various steps of cytokinin biology are a ray of hope to fulfil this demand.

Few reports are available on overexpression of cytokinin dehydrogenases (CKXs) and their mutants in the model plant Arabidopsis and some edible crops like rice, brassica, chickpea, and barley regarding increased grain number, seed number, and drought tolerance. However, most of these reports fail to relate the key role of cytokinin biology with crop biofortification and food security.

This Research Topic will cover many novel areas related, but not limited, to the following themes:
- Cytokinin biology and yield improvement
- Plant hormone homeostasis and its effect on the source and sink relationship for crop improvement
- Transcriptome studies and validation of the expression for the gene of interest in cytokinin dehydrogenase mutant crop plants
- Cytokinin dehydrogenase and food security
- Cytokinin metabolism and its effect on crop biofortification
- Genome editing to target cytokinin homeostasis for enhanced yield and nutrition in crops
- Food security and mutation breeding
- Crop biofortification and genome editing
- Development of mutant crops for enhanced food and nutrition security
- Role of cytokinin biology in Abiotic and biotic stress tolerance


Keywords: Cytokinin, Cytokinin dehydrogenase, CKX, Cytokinin homeostasis, food security, biofortification, gene expression, genome editing, mutant breeding


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

One of the major consequences of an increasing global population is the increased requirement of food, fiber, and fuel while recognizing the need for sustainable production methods operating within a changing global environment. Crops are key resources of calories and nutrients for human populations and consist of diverse plant families. How can we feed the increasing world population with limited resources? This question is very common in both developed and developing countries. Traditional crop improvement techniques are available, but there is a limitation in their use, and they are not always applicable to all crop types and seasons. Now, what will be the next step? This is always a question in the mind of crop science researchers.

For the last two decades, crop scientists have worked on controlling the growth and development of crops through cytokinin biology. Cytokinins (CKs) have been known to play an important role in seed development since zeatin was first identified in high levels in developing seeds. Cytokinins are N6-substituted adenine-related compounds. Trans-zeatin and isopentenyl-adenine are the most active and abundant CKs, implicated in the control of both shoot and root architecture, promotion of cell division in the shoot, delay in leaf senescence, fruit and seed development, regulation of nutrient allocation, response to biotic and abiotic stresses, and regulation of auxin action and distribution. Their homeostasis is controlled by the rate of de novo synthesis and the rate of catabolism. Their role in yield improvement and biofortification has been successfully established. In this way, micronutrient-enriched legumes and cereal varieties are developed through biofortification and emerging genome editing techniques. These improved and biofortified varieties can also help to solve the global problem of hunger and hidden hunger.

Although the development of the advanced level next-generation sequencing and LAMP-based isothermal PCR techniques provides a broad knowledge platform to deduce and establish significant yield improvement approaches, there is a lack of stable, speedy, and concrete routes in this area. The use of mutation breeding and genome editing techniques to alter the various steps of cytokinin biology are a ray of hope to fulfil this demand.

Few reports are available on overexpression of cytokinin dehydrogenases (CKXs) and their mutants in the model plant Arabidopsis and some edible crops like rice, brassica, chickpea, and barley regarding increased grain number, seed number, and drought tolerance. However, most of these reports fail to relate the key role of cytokinin biology with crop biofortification and food security.

This Research Topic will cover many novel areas related, but not limited, to the following themes:
- Cytokinin biology and yield improvement
- Plant hormone homeostasis and its effect on the source and sink relationship for crop improvement
- Transcriptome studies and validation of the expression for the gene of interest in cytokinin dehydrogenase mutant crop plants
- Cytokinin dehydrogenase and food security
- Cytokinin metabolism and its effect on crop biofortification
- Genome editing to target cytokinin homeostasis for enhanced yield and nutrition in crops
- Food security and mutation breeding
- Crop biofortification and genome editing
- Development of mutant crops for enhanced food and nutrition security
- Role of cytokinin biology in Abiotic and biotic stress tolerance


Keywords: Cytokinin, Cytokinin dehydrogenase, CKX, Cytokinin homeostasis, food security, biofortification, gene expression, genome editing, mutant breeding


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

17 September 2021 Abstract
21 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

17 September 2021 Abstract
21 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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