Molecular Breeding

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 327–340 | Cite as

Transgenic peanut overexpressing the DREB1A transcription factor has higher yields under drought stress

  • Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur
  • Jagana Sridhar Rao
  • Vincent Vadez
  • Srinivas Reddy Dumbala
  • Abhishek Rathore
  • Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki
  • Kiran K. SharmaEmail author


Transgenic research using the DREB group of transcription factors has received much attention in developing drought-tolerant and climate-ready varieties of crop plants. While many reports have demonstrated increased tolerance to water deficits under laboratory and greenhouse conditions, only a few have tested possible effects under field conditions, with limited success in most cases. Here, we present evidence of a transgenic solution for enhanced drought tolerance in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), which is an important grain legume and a valuable cash crop for smallholder and resource-poor farmers occupying the largest portion of the farming systems in low income food deficit countries. The presence, integration, expression and inheritance of the transgene in advancing generations of the transgenic peanut plants were assessed using PCR, Southern blot, inverse-PCR, RT-PCR and q-PCR techniques. Four trials were conducted in various water stress regimes under varying vapour pressure deficits (VPDs), and drought tolerance was studied using various component traits of drought. A substantial yield improvement of up to 24 % in drought trials under field conditions was achieved across a wide range of stress intensities and was related to higher harvest indices (HIs). All transgenic events had significantly higher seed filling under drought and displayed 20–30 % lower pod yield reduction than their untransformed counterpart under drought stress. Two transgenic events showed yield advantage under drought stress that consistently had higher pod and seed yield than the untransformed parent under drought stress across all trials, without displaying any yield penalty under irrigated conditions.


Arachis hypogaea DREB1A Drought Harvest index Stress-inducible promoter Transgenic peanut Transcription factor Yield 



The authors acknowledge JIRCAS, Japan for providing the gene constructs used in this study. We thank Dr. William D. Dar, Director General, ICRISAT for his keen interest and constant encouragement for this work. We thank Drs. Deborah Delmer and Thomas Sinclair for their critical comments on the manuscript. The excellent technical assistance from Kanaka Reddy, Md. Yousuf, C. Lakshminarayana and D. Pandary is acknowledged. We thank Ms. Roma Das for her help with the statistical analysis. This research was undertaken as a part of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes, and partly supported by a grant from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest with the work reported here.

Supplementary material

11032_2013_9952_MOESM1_ESM.doc (410 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 410 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur
    • 1
  • Jagana Sridhar Rao
    • 1
  • Vincent Vadez
    • 1
  • Srinivas Reddy Dumbala
    • 1
  • Abhishek Rathore
    • 1
  • Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki
    • 2
  • Kiran K. Sharma
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)PatancheruIndia
  2. 2.Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)TsukubaJapan

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