Strategies for Improving Drought Resistance in Grain Legumes uri icon

abstract

  • This review distills recent information on drought resistance characteristics of grain legumes with a view toward developing appropriate genetic enhancement strategies for water-limited environments. First, the possible adaptations that allow grain legumes to better cope with drought stress are summarized. It is suggested that there are considerable gains to be made in increasing yield and yield stability in environments characterized by terminal drought stress by further exploiting drought escape, by shortening crop duration. Many traits conferring dehydration avoidance and dehydration tolerance are available, but integrated traits, expressing at a higher level of organization, are suggested to be more useful in crop improvement programs. Possible genetic improvement strategies are outlined, ranging from empirical selection for yield in droughted environments to a physiological genetic approach. It is suggested that in view of recent advances in understanding drought resistance mechanisms, the latter strategy is becoming more feasible. It is concluded that use of this recently derived knowledge in a systematic manner can lead to significant gains in yield and yield stability of the world's major grain legumes, as they are mainly grown (and will continue to be grown) under rain-fed conditions

publication date

  • 1995
  • 1995