Review: An integrated framework for crop adaptation to dry environments: Responses to transient and terminal drought

Berger, J and Palta, J and Vadez, V (2016) Review: An integrated framework for crop adaptation to dry environments: Responses to transient and terminal drought. Plant Science, 253. pp. 58-67. ISSN 0168-9452

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As the incidence of water deficit and heat stress increases in many production regions there is an increasing requirement for crops adapted to these stresses. Thus it is essential to match water supply and demand, particularly during grain-filling. Here we integrate Grime’s ecological strategies approach with traditional drought resistance/yield component frameworks describing plant responses to water deficit. We demonstrate that water use is a function of both short and longer term trade-offs between competing demands for carbon. Agricultural crop adaptation is based on escape. Rapid growth rates and high reproductive investment maximize yield, and stress is avoided through a closely regulated, climate-appropriate annual phenology. Crops have neither the resources nor morphological capacity to withstand long periods of intense water deficit. Thus, under terminal drought, yield potential is traded off against drought escape, such that drought postponing and/or tolerance traits which extend the growing season and/or divert source from reproductive sinks are maladaptive. However, these traits do play a supporting role against transient water deficits, allowing longer season cultivars to survive by mining water through deeper roots, or restricting transpiration. Recognizing these trade-offs made within escape-strategy limits will allow breeders to integrate complementary adaptive traits to transient and terminal water deficits.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crop adaptation; Transient and terminal water deficits; Trade-offs; Drought escape/postponement/tolerance
Subjects: Others > Abiotic Stress
Others > Drought Tolerance
Others > Crop Physiology
Others > Drought
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2017 06:11
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2018 08:58
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors would like to acknowledge generous research funding support from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the CGIAR Research Programs on Dryland Cereals and Grain Legumes, and the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
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