Research Topic

Integrating plant genetics and genomics for delineating climate resilience and health benefitting characteristics from millets

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Global agriculture faces two key challenges in its persuit of ensuring food and nutrition security. First, the changing climate imposed by global warming and increasing greenhouse gases are having a devastating impact on agricultural productivity. The primary consequences of climate change on agriculture ...

Global agriculture faces two key challenges in its persuit of ensuring food and nutrition security. First, the changing climate imposed by global warming and increasing greenhouse gases are having a devastating impact on agricultural productivity. The primary consequences of climate change on agriculture include increased incidences of drought, heat and salinity, and similar effects on biotic factors such as blight and virus infections, leading to reduced crop productivity and food security. Though substantial research is now focusing on improving the climate resilience of food crops, comparatively fewer efforts have been invested in addressing nutritional security. Consumption of high energy and low nutrient food may increase the incidence of non-communicable diseases namely, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and cancer, which together account for three in five mortalities. In addition, obesity is also a major risk for human health. Reports suggest that a 10% decrease in the incidence of these diseases through a modification in diet would have a significant social and economic impact.

The importance of millets in mitigation and adaptation of climate change, as well as their rich nutritional values in circumventing nutritional insecurity, has started to receive greater attention worldwide. Millets are cultivated in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, where major cereals including rice, wheat and maize fail to survive and suffer from yield loss. In addition, millets are short-duration crops, have the potential to survive in poor nutrient soils, and require little water to survive and produce. Millets are adapted to a wide range of ecological conditions and their cultivation is hardly dependent on any use of synthetic chemical fertilizers. Being C4 photosynthetic crops, millets also have better water-use and nitrogen-use efficencies. From a nutritional standpoint, millets are highly nutritious, non-glutinous, non-acid forming and easily digestible foods. Moreover, they are rich sources of minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. They possess a range of other health benefitting characteristics, for example, millets have high amounts of dietary fibre and various vitamins (ß- carotene, niacin, vitamin B6 and folic acid), and high amounts of lecithin, which are useful for strengthening the nervous system. The low glycaemic and hypocholesterolemic effects of millets have the potential to circumvent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, respectively. Although the nutritional profile of millets is three- to five-fold better than that of major cereals such as rice, wheat and maize, only a few research groups have been working to explore the possibilities of producing, processing, and utilizing millets for food, nutritional and environmental security. In this context, this Research Topic is timely and shall achieve the following targets;

1. Publication of valid/reproducible/quality research on millets conducted in relevance to climate resilience and nutrition security.

2. Publication of methods, protocols and technology reports, which could be useful for the global millet research community to advance their research.

3. Publication of high quality comprehensive reviews and mini-reviews demonstrating the cutting-edge research performed towards improvement of millets.

4. Publication of opinion and perspective articles showing the viewpoints of millet researchers.

This Research Topic will serve as a platform for global millet researchers to share their research outcomes, and understand the techniques, technologies, methods and protocols followed by other researchers in studying related subjects. It will also be a comprehensive one stop compilation for the state of the art information on various aspects of millets, and will form a solid contribution to ‘Frontiers in Plant Science’.


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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