Imparting drought stress-tolerance to crop plants
Imparting drought stress-tolerance to crop plants by heterologous transfer of high altitude plant protection mechanisms
In the upcoming years, crop production will be facing an increased demand by the growing and changing world population on the one hand and strong limitations by increasing abiotic stresses, like drought and temperature changes caused by the global climate change on the other hand. Thus, breeders and plant scientists have to provide varieties with higher yield, improved yield stability and stress tolerance traits to maintain and increase a sustainable crop production. Here we propose an Indo-German academic-industrial cooperation to identify stress tolerance genes and insert those into high quality crop plant lines.
Chosen stress-induced genes isolated from plants growing and surviving in high altitude stress experiencing extreme cold, drought and high light (Institute for Himalayan Bioresource Technology, India) will first be transferred to the model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). Transgenic plants will then be analyzed in the Juelich Plant Phenotyping Centre (JPPC) for their growth under controlled and drought stress conditions in a most field-comparable environment. Finally, genes providing a stress tolerance to the model plants will be transferred to high quality crop plants by German and Indian breeders. Transgenic crop plants will further be characterized for drought tolerance in JPPC climate chambers and high tech-greenhouses.