Crop Biotech Update

ISAAA Releases Special Feature on Drought Tolerance in Maize

August 22, 2013

ISAAA releases "Progress in Achieving and Delivering Drought Tolerance in Maize - An Update", as a special feature to highlight the enormous global importance of the drought tolerance trait, which virtually no crop or farmer in the world can afford to be without. The author, Dr. Greg O. Edmeades contributed this timely global overview, originally published in ISAAA Brief 44, which focuses on the status of drought tolerance in maize, in both conventional and biotech approaches, in the private and public sector, and discusses future prospects in the near, mid and long term.

Given the lack of water and its cardinal role in crop production, the special feature emphasized that the tolerance to drought and efficient water usage should be assigned the highest priority in developing future crops. Drought tolerance in maize conferred through biotech crops is viewed as the most important trait that will be commercialized in the second decade of commercialization and beyond, because it is by far the single most important constraint to increased productivity for crops worldwide.

"The review on drought tolerant maize is particularly relevant to sub-Saharan Africa, because of the urgent humanitarian need to boost the yields of maize, which is the staple food for more than 300 million people, a significant proportion of whom are suffering from hunger and malnutrition", noted Dr. Clive James, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ISAAA .

Notably, the special feature highlights the progress towards drought tolerance in maize as drought continues to destabilize maize production and maize yields, specifically in major regions of sub-Saharan Africa where irrigation is not feasible, with a direct human cost. The special feature supported by key references is entirely excerpted from the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2012, ISAAA Brief 44.

For more information, email and for a copy of the drought special issue, download at