Crop Biotech Update

Expression of Genes Associated with Drought Traits Improves Drought Adaptation in Peanut

September 30, 2015

Adaptation of crops to drought conditions can be achieved by improving plant traits such as efficient water mining and cellular-level tolerance mechanisms. Pyramiding these drought-adaptive traits by simultaneous expression of genes can be relevant in improving stress tolerance.

Vemanna S. Ramu of the University of Agricultural Sciences in India developed a transgenic peanut (Arachis hypogaea) expressing Alfalfa zincfinger 1 (Alfin1), a root growth-associated transcription factor gene, Pennisetum glaucum heat-shock factor (PgHSF4), and Pea DNA helicase (PDH45). The researchers then evaluated it under drought stress conditions.

The transgenic lines showed higher root growth, cooler crop canopy air temperature difference and higher relative water content (RWC) under drought stress. The survival and recovery of transgenic lines was also significantly higher. Several stress-responsive genes also showed enhanced expression under stress in transgenic lines.

The simultaneous expression of regulatory genes for drought-adaptive traits can improve crop adaptation and productivity under water-limited conditions.

For more information, visit the full article on Plant Biotechnology Journal.