Application of Molecular Tools in Breeding Cereal Crops for Drought Tolerance

Ermias Assefa, Dembele Erusulo


Drought tolerance is a quantitative trait, with complex phenotype and genetic control.  It is one of the major yield constraints for cereal crops. Drought tolerance in crop plants is not a simple task rather one of the most difficult challenges currently the breeders face. The conventional plant-breeding approach generally used to develop drought-tolerant varieties. It is based on selection for yield and its components under a given drought environment. Modern breeding approaches like Identification of drought related quantitative trait loci (QTLs) joined with marker-assisted recurrent selection and genomic selection are being deployed for enhancing drought tolerance in cereal crops. Some novel mapping populations such as multiparent advanced generation intercross and nested association mapping populations are also being developed for trait mapping at higher resolution, as well as for enhancing the genetic base of cereal crops. Considerable progress can be made in the field of omics, providing valuable information on the structure and behavior of crop genomes, with better understanding of plant responses to environmental stresses. Transgenic and omics based technologies have been shown to be powerful tools holding a tremendous promise for the future.

Keywords: Transgenic, Omics, QTL, Marker-Assisted Recurrent Selection, Novel mapping

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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