Phenotyping for drought tolerance of crops in the genomics era

Front Physiol. 2012 Sep 19;3:347. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00347. eCollection 2012.


Improving crops yield under water-limited conditions is the most daunting challenge faced by breeders. To this end, accurate, relevant phenotyping plays an increasingly pivotal role for the selection of drought-resilient genotypes and, more in general, for a meaningful dissection of the quantitative genetic landscape that underscores the adaptive response of crops to drought. A major and universally recognized obstacle to a more effective translation of the results produced by drought-related studies into improved cultivars is the difficulty in properly phenotyping in a high-throughput fashion in order to identify the quantitative trait loci that govern yield and related traits across different water regimes. This review provides basic principles and a broad set of references useful for the management of phenotyping practices for the study and genetic dissection of drought tolerance and, ultimately, for the release of drought-tolerant cultivars.

Keywords: QTL; breeding; drought tolerance; genomics; modeling; phenology; phenomics; yield.