Stress tolerance mechanisms in wild plants

Autores UPV


Environmental stress (mostly drought and high soil salinity) is the major cause of reduction of crop yields, a problem which will worsen in many regions because of the global climate change. The improvement of abiotic stress tolerance in crops has become an urgent need for the future of agriculture; transgenic plants expressing genes conferring tolerance provide the most promising strategy to achieve this goal. However, this approach requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms of stress tolerance in plants, which are still largely unknown. Paradoxically, most studies on the responses of plants to abiotic stress have been performed using stress-sensitive species ¿ such as Arabidopsis thaliana. However, there are plants (halophytes, gypsophytes, xerophytes.) adapted to extremely harsh environmental conditions in their natural habitats, which we propose as more suitable models to investigate these mechanisms, and as a source of biotechnological tools (¿stress tolerance genes¿, stress-inducible promoters) for the genetic engineering of stress tolerance in crop plants.