3 years ago

Dehydration survival of crop plants and its measurement.

Abraham Blum, Roberto Tuberosa
Dehydration survival under drought stress is defined in this review as the transition from plant activity into a quiescent state of life preservation, which will be terminated by either recovery or death, depending on the stress regime and the plant's resilience. Dehydration survival is a popular phenotype by which functional genomics attempts to test gene function in drought resistance and survival. The available reports on phenotyping and genotyping of dehydration survival in genomic studies indicate that the measurement of this trait is often biased to the extent that misguided interpretations are likely to occur. This review briefly discusses the physiological basis of dehydration survival in resurrection plants and crop plants, and concludes that in phenotyping dehydration survival there is a need to distinguish between dehydration avoidance and dehydration tolerance (also termed desiccation tolerance) in affecting survival and recovery. Without this distinction, functional genomics studies of the trait might be biased. Survival due to dehydration avoidance is expressed by the capacity to maintain a relatively high plant water status as the plant is desiccated. Survival due to dehydration tolerance is expressed by delayed mortality (mortality at a relatively low plant water status) as affected by the resilience of plant metabolism. The common test of dehydration survival, using the relative recovery after a given number of stress days, is therefore insufficient because it is mainly driven by dehydration avoidance and so ignores a possible role for dehydration tolerance. Conceivable methods for more accurate phenotyping of the two components of dehydration survival are proposed and discussed.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erx445

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erx445

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