Ranjeet Kaur, Rupam Kumar Bhunia and Ananta Kumar Ghosh Pages 12 - 29 ( 18 )
Background: Global food security is threatened by the severe environmental conditions that have reduced the worldwide crop yield. Plants possess inherent mechanisms to cope with the initial stress phase but to ensure their survival through harsh climate, the intervention of genetic engineering is desirable.
Objective: We present a comprehensive review on the progress made in the field of developing environmental stress tolerant crops and the prospects that can be undertaken for achieving it.
Methods: We review the effects of abiotic and biotic stresses on crop plants, and the use of different molecular genetic approaches to cope with these environmental stresses for establishment of sustainable agriculture. The various strategies employed in different crops have also been discussed. We also summarized the major patents in the field of plant stress tolerance that have been granted in the last five years.
Results: On the basis of these analyses, we propose that genetic engineering of crops is the preferred approach over the traditional methods for yielding healthier and viable agriculture in response to the different stressful environments. The wild progenitors of cultivated crop species can prove to be highly potential genetic resources in this regard and can be exploited to produce better crops that are relatively tolerant towards various environmental stresses.
Conclusion: Thus, elucidation of genetic loci and deciphering the underlying mechanisms that confer tolerance to plants against stressful conditions followed by its successful introgression into elite, high-yielding crop varieties can be an effective way to engineer the crops for sustainable agriculture.
Biotic stress, abiotic stress, genetic engineering, transgenic approach, elite varieties, wild relatives, signal transduction pathway.
Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur, Kharagpur-721302, India.