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Developing Drought Tolerant Crops pp. 325-322 $0.00
Authors:  (Sundaram Kuppu, Guoxin Shen, Paxton Payton, Hong Zhang, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA, and others)
Drought stress is a major environmental factor that limits food production in the
world. With the temperature on the earth increasing due to climate change, drought will
become a more severe problem for many countries including China, India, and most parts
of Africa. Providing enough food to the growing world population will be a major
challenge that we will have to face. Traditional breeding had been successful in
developing drought tolerant crops in the last several decades, however, it is becoming
more difficult to develop drought tolerant crops by this approach due to limited access to
the drought tolerant genes in the natural populations of crops and due to its timeconsuming
process. In contrast, the rapid progress made in plant genomics research and
in plant biotechnology research has opened up new possibilities in creating drought
tolerant crops through genetic engineering. Among the many successful experiments
conducted in laboratories and in the field, two approaches appear to be very promising.
One involves increasing activity of a vacuolar membrane-bound proton pump, which
leads to increased drought tolerance and salt tolerance in transgenic plants. The other
involves increasing cytokinin production only under drought conditions, which
dramatically increases drought tolerance in transgenic plants. Both approaches have been
tested in greenhouse and field conditions and both appear to work in all plants that have
been tested. It is hoped that these approaches will be translated into actual gain in
agricultural production soon. 

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Developing Drought Tolerant Crops pp. 325-322