About this Research Topic
Climate change is a major environmental challenge that endangers crop production, water resources, and economic stability. Future research in fruit production must integrate tested technologies such as conventional breeding and agronomy with new approaches including molecular genetics to propose viable solutions to adapt to major environmental changes. Plants use many interacting hormones and other sensing molecules to orchestrate these genetic programs aimed to maintain plant reproductive structures (bud, flower, and fruits), and to integrate external cues. How climate changes affect these programs and how genetic diversity within a genus can be exploited to understand the influence of environmental factors on plant development are challenging questions.
In trees, bud dormancy is an important adaptive trait both for survival and growth. Environmental control of this activity is based on the perception of photoperiod and temperature signals, reflecting adaptation to prevailing climatic conditions. Despite growing evidence of hormones controlling the activity-dormancy cycle, our knowledge is still fragmentary. Epigenetic mechanisms also contribute to the activity of the dormancy process. More extensive works of this key developmental stage are needed to develop new strategies to maintain reproduction fitness of tree species in a near future.
Development of a reproductive structure (flower) represents a major step in the life cycle of a plant. The complex interactions of endogenous and environmental stimuli act to maximize the reproductive success of a plant, by ensuring that flowering occurs only under conditions favorable for fertilization and seed formation. Modification of these conditions will likely disrupt this coordinated mechanism. Therefore, there is a need to understand the contribution of environmental factors to flowering formation in tree crops to maximize their production.
Understanding the basic mechanisms responsible for fruit development is crucial to maintain and increase fruit crop productivity in unpredictable environments. Fruits fall into two major categories, climacteric and non-climacteric. The presence of a large rise in respiratory state in concert with an elevated production of ethylene is a major component of climacteric fruits. By contrast, non-climacteric fruits do not exhibit these features but instead mature slowly through the sequential action of multiple hormones in concert with changes in the close environment of the fruit. For twenty five years, major scientific efforts have focused on delineating the major phases of fruit development at different biological layers (gene, protein and metabolite) and how agronomic practices and emerging issues related to climate changes influence this developmental process. However, basic questions are yet to be addressed. While fruit development can be manipulated in the field, its full control must be addressed in several crops because it may hold the key to adaptive responses to climate change.
This Research Topic will seek for innovative scientific approaches intended to address these fundamental questions, which will help define better management strategies for major economically important fruit crops in the light of climate change. Manuscripts emphasizing bud dormancy, seed and fruit physiology, OMICs and genetic studies on reproductive tissues, systems biology in fruit development, metabolic modeling, and impact of stresses on fruit crops are welcome.
This Research Topic is a second edition - the first edition can be found here.