Wheat Responses, Defence Mechanisms and Tolerance to Drought Stress: A Review Article
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the major basic stable crops grown worldwide, however, it is sensitive to environmental stresses like drought. With climate change, drought stress is becoming an increasingly severe constraint on wheat production which affects the plant growth and development, physiological functions, grain formation, grain quality and ultimately the yield. Various responses including biochemical, physiological, morphological, and molecular adaptations are shown by plants to survive in the drought stress condition. Drought escape, avoidance and tolerance are important coping mechanisms of wheat plant under drought environment. Several mechanisms such as accumulation of ABA, osmotic adjustment, and induction of dehydrins may confer drought tolerance by maintaining the high tissue water potential. As the root structure and root biomass define the pattern of water extraction from the soil, enhanced root and suppressed shoot growth resulting in higher root: shoot ratio facilitated plants to drought tolerance. The development of drought tolerance varieties becomes an important due to the uneven distribution of rainfall and water shortage. Some growth stage-specific physio-morphological traits are fundamental targets to breed drought-tolerant wheat varieties. Mutation breeding, molecular breeding, genome engineering techniques including gene pyramiding, gene stacking, and transgenics are employed to breed wheat for tolerance to abiotic stresses including drought. Omics decode the entire genome to have better understanding of plant molecular responses that will provide precise strategies for crop improvement. This paper discusses the wheat plant’s responses to drought stress, their defense mechanisms and modern techniques for the development of drought tolerant wheat varieties.
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