Submitted to: Proceedings of the Global Conference on Potato
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Environmental extremes diminish the potential of a crop by reducing yield and quality. Therefore, it is important to develop plants with inherent abilities to combat stresses due to frequent changes in the environment. Biotechnological approaches are predicted to help meet these demands. This paper reviews literature on abiotic stress tolerance of horticultural crops and suggests experimental approaches that should result in the development of horticulturally important crops that are resistant to environmental extremes. This information is of use to plant biologists and researchers.
Technical Abstract: The potential yield and quality of field-grown crops is not fully realized because plants divert energy to cope with changing environmental conditions. Acclimation of plants to frequent changes in environmental conditions involves both short-term signaling (chemical, molecular and physiological) and long-term physiological adaptation that involves structural and morphological readjustments. Changes in gene activation, transcription and translation are often observed during the acclimation process and, thus, are part of the tolerance process. Slow advances made thus far towards developing stress-tolerance lines are due to breeding strategies using conventional methodology. Biotechnology offers a more powerful and precise methodology that will have an increased role in creating varieties that are resistant to abiotic stresses, as genes involved in stress tolerance are identified, cloned and introduced into sensitive cultivars. However, for biotechnology to be applied successfully, we need to identify target genes and proteins that specifically respond to environmental extremes, then isolate, characterize and define their functions, and finally introduce the selected genes into commercially important breeding lines.