Modern agriculture is facing multiple challenges including the necessity for a substantial increase in production to meet the needs of a burgeoning human population. Water shortage is a deleterious consequence of both population growth and climate change and is one of the most severe factors limiting global crop productivity. Brassica species, particularly canola varieties, are cultivated worldwide for edible oil, animal feed, and biodiesel, and suffer dramatic yield loss upon drought stress. The recent release of the Brassica napus genome supplies essential genetic information to facilitate identification of drought-related genes and provides new information for agricultural improvement in this species. Here we summarize current knowledge regarding drought responses of canola, including physiological and -omics effects of drought. We further discuss knowledge gained through translational biology based on discoveries in the closely related reference species Arabidopsis thaliana and through genetic strategies such as genome-wide association studies and analysis of natural variation. Knowledge of drought tolerance/resistance responses in canola together with research outcomes arising from new technologies and methodologies will inform novel strategies for improvement of drought tolerance and yield in this and other important crop species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science