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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Water Management and Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317103

Research Project: Management Strategies to Sustain Irrigated Agriculture with Limited Water Supplies

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Title: Evolutionary outcomes should inform plant breeding and transgenic approaches to drought tolerance in crop species: the importance of xylem traits

Author
item Gleason, Sean

Submitted to: Nature Plants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/19/2015
Publication Date: 8/1/2015
Citation: Gleason, S.M. 2015. Evolutionary outcomes should inform plant breeding and transgenic approaches to drought tolerance in crop species: the importance of xylem traits. Nature Plants. doi:10/1038/nplants.2015.114.

Interpretive Summary: Plant breeding and transgenic approaches to crop improvement are presently targeting plant traits that allegedly confer drought tolerance. A news feature published in Nature Biotechnology last year suggests that these efforts may not be proceeding with sufficient haste, considering the rapid pace of climate change. Although the current and future demand for safe food may indeed warrant haste, I suggest that efforts to improve plant performance in water-limited environments would benefit from first carefully considering how natural selection has already solved this problem.

Technical Abstract: Genomic-assisted breeding and transgenic approaches to crop improvement are presently targeting phenotypic traits that allegedly confer drought tolerance. A news feature published in Nature Biotechnology last year suggests that these efforts may not be proceeding with sufficient haste, considering the rapid pace of climate change. Although the current and future demand for safe food may indeed warrant haste, I suggest that efforts to improve plant performance in water-limited environments would benefit from first carefully considering how natural selection has already solved this problem.