Breeding for Abiotic Stress Adaptation

  • P. M. Priyadarshan


Abiotic stress is defined as the negative impact of non-living factors on the living organisms in a specific environment. The literal meaning of the word “stress” is coercion, that is, force in one direction. In Physics, stress is tension produced within a body by the action of an external force. Biologically, stress is a significant deviation from ideal conditions. Stress prevents plants from expressing their full genetic potential for growth, development and reproduction. Stress is a stimulus that surpasses the usual range of homeostatic regulation (homeostasis is stability or balance of the plant body – it is the body’s attempt to maintain a constant internal environment) in any living being. Abiotic stresses (water deficit, high temperature, low temperature and high salinity) pose a serious threat to the food security worldwide. It poses a negative influence on the plant’s survival and can reduce biomass and yield by up to 50–70%. Any stress above the threshold can activate a cascade of responses at physiological, biochemical, morphological and molecular levels. This cascade of responses helps to withstand the stress. Stress tolerance is a quantitative trait with complex gene regulations. Molecular mechanisms and various complex signalling pathways govern such gene regulations, and such a process involves activation and deactivation of stress responses.


Types of abiotic stresses Drought tolerance Salinity tolerance Temperature tolerance Macro- and microelements Physiological and biochemical responses Breeding for abiotic stresses Breeding for drought tolerance/WUE Photosynthesis under drought stress Breeding for heat tolerance Drought vs. heat tolerance Salinity tolerance Salinity tolerance mechanisms Breeding strategies Marker-assisted selection (MAS) MABA for abiotic stress in major crops (rice, wheat, maize) “omics” and stress adaptation Comparative genomics tools Transcript“omics” Combining QTL mapping GWAS and transcriptome profiling Prote“omics” to unravel stress tolerance Metabol “omics” Phen“omics” for dissection of stress tolerance. 

Further Reading

  1. Ali J et al (2017) Harnessing the hidden genetic diversity for improving multiple abiotic stress tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa L.). PLOS One. Scholar
  2. Dresselhaus T, Hückelhoven R (2018) Biotic and abiotic stress responses in crop plants. Agronomy 8:267. Scholar
  3. Frascaroli (2018) Breeding cold-tolerant crops: physiological, molecular and genetic perspectives. In: Wani SH, Herath V (eds) Cold tolerance in plants. Springer, Cham, pp 159–177. Scholar
  4. He M et al (2018) Abiotic stresses: general defenses of land plants and chances for engineering multistress tolerance. Front Plant Sci 9:1771. Scholar
  5. Munns R, Gilliham M (2015) Salinity tolerance of crops – what is the cost? New Phytologist 208:668–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Negrão S et al (2017) Evaluating physiological responses of plants to salinity stress. Ann Bot 119(1):1–11. Scholar
  7. Rahman AMNRB, Zhang J (2018) Preferential geographic distribution pattern of abiotic stress tolerant rice. Rice 11:10. Scholar
  8. Raza A et al (2019) Impact of climate change on crops adaptation and strategies to tackle its outcome: a review. Plants 8:34. Scholar
  9. Wani SH (2018) Biochemical physiological and molecular avenues for combating abiotic stress in plants. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Priyadarshan
    • 1
  1. 1.Erstwhile Deputy DirectorRubber Research Institute of IndiaKottayamIndia

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