Research Topic

Crop Breeding for Drought Resistance

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This Research Topic addresses molecular bases of drought-resistance in crop species and their applications in breeding. As drought stress is a growing problem in agriculture worldwide, we aim at identifying key traits and their underlying molecular bases (including genetic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, ...

This Research Topic addresses molecular bases of drought-resistance in crop species and their applications in breeding. As drought stress is a growing problem in agriculture worldwide, we aim at identifying key traits and their underlying molecular bases (including genetic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, epigenetic aspect, etc.) that could be used in breeding programs to develop drought-resistant crops.

Water deficiency occurs when plants cannot absorb enough water from the soil to compensate its loss. It results in drought stress when the amount of water becomes insufficient to maintain plant life processes. In recent years, water deficiency and drought stress has become a worldwide problem in agriculture, as they cause significant yield losses for many crops. It is urgent to understand how cereal crops respond to drought stress, molecular bases of these mechanisms, and the evolution of drought-resistance between ecotypes of a crop (e.g. upland ecotype vs. lowland ecotype) or among different crops (wheat vs. rice).

Drought-resistance is a complex trait, which combines four major mechanisms that plans deploy alone or in combination: drought-escape, -avoidance, -tolerance, and -recovery. How to study molecular bases of these mechanisms individually remains a challenge. In addition, drought-resistant crops are required to maintain a high productivity under the drought, which is different from wild plant species to ensure their survival in first. Many acclimation responses to the drought - such as stomata closure or inhibitions of basal life activities for instance – do not always positively correlate with drought-resistance in crops. Therefore, drought-resistances in crops have their own features, which are distinct from that in wild plant species - a point that has not been fully discussed until now. Finally, the evolution of drought-resistance during crop domestication remains a puzzle. For example, crop ecotypes domesticated in upland conditions or water-deficient regions always confer better drought-resistance but poor yield potential. To know how drought-resistance is selected during domestication in these crop ecotypes could deepen our understanding on drought-resistance and its application in breeding.

This Research Topic aims at exploring genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic bases of any traits associated with crop drought-resistance. We particularly welcome manuscripts dealing with:
- genetic bases of drought-resistance and its related traits in crops via quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, genome-wide association (GWAS) analysis, and QTL-sequencing.
- comparative transcriptomic and/or metabolomic studies related to drought-resistance in crops.
- epigenetic mechanisms related to drought-resistance in crops and their applications in breeding.
- evolutionary genetics to explain evolution of drought-resistance in crops during their domestication and its tradeoffs with other agronomic traits.
- molecular marker assisted breeding for improvements of drought-resistance.

We welcome all article types welcomed in the section Crop Science and Horticulture.


Keywords: drought-resistance, epigenetics, omics, evolution


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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