Plant Genetic Resources and Climate Change: Drought

Drought is a complex problem that affects the livelihoods of millions of poor every year and most likely will become more frequent as the climate changes. Current knowledge on the molecular basis of drought resistance is not yet sufficient to develop more drought resistant crops or varieties. Therefore, for the time being, conventional breeding based on specific adaptation and evolutionary strategies, and with the collaboration of farmers seems to be the only realistic avenue to develop in the short-term drought-resistant varieties quickly available on the ground.

As our knowledge of the genetic basis of drought resistance improves, bio-technological techniques and genomic tools might off er the possibility of introducing new traits and regulatory mechanisms that would improve the efficiency of selection. As this is now admittedly recognized as an avenue for the future, there is a need to re-address the allocation of resources, which are currently grossly unbalanced in favour of approaches that are not likely to accelerate the production of new varieties in the timeframe of climate change.

Drought. Ceccarelli, S. 2014. In: M. Jackson, B. V. Ford-Lloyd and M.L. Parry (eds) Plant Genetic Resources and Climate Change. CABI Internation pp 221 – 235.

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