About this Research Topic
The biological systems of a plant are complex and often governed by a plethora of factors that determine successful growth and survival. Therefore, traditionally, plant scientists studied plants such as Arabidopsis and rice primarily as models in the laboratory in order to develop an in-depth understanding of the biological mechanisms under lying traits. Extensive knowledge on various aspects of model plants has accumulated over the past three decades and it will be beneficial if this knowledge can be adopted to the plantation field crops. In the tropics, plantation field crops have increasingly become commercial entities as more and more farms in the developing countries transform from subsistence to plantation scale. Some of these crops have become the economic mainstay of countries, providing an added incentive to governments to invest in translational research to underpin breeding efforts.
The successful translation of knowledge from model plants to field crops has been seen in genomics, where genes controlling desirable traits in crops such as wheat, barley, and millets can be localized through the use of conserved synteny. In some cases, positional and sequence based comparisons have allowed causative genes to be identified. Even where such comparisons are not possible, the translation of methodologies, target trait information and strategic approaches developed in model species to the target crop species can short cut the research cycle. As information – particularly sequence information - increases rapidly in the major crops species, they will also begin to be ‘models’ for other target crop species.
Compared to model plants and lab-based research, crops growing in the field are subjected to more unpredictable influences which will affect plant growth and development. What approaches exist to link the lab predictions with actual field performance? How do we produce a pipeline from genomics through to the farmer’s field and what translational components does it need?
If you are researchers working on translational research, from genomics through to field analysis in model, major and minor crops particularly tropical crops, you are welcomed to share and contribute your research findings to this Research Topic. It would be expected that research papers would cover a range of topics covering genetic transformation systems, analysis of transgenic plants and development of improved plants through conventional breeding. In addition, review papers examining issues with tropical crops providing potential solutions through the use of genetically improved plants will also be welcome.