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GM Crops & Food

For an Article Collection on

Designing Future Smart Crops for Climate Resilience and Stress Tolerance Through Embracing Emerging Molecular Tools

Manuscript deadline
31 January 2024

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Article collection guest advisor(s)

Dr. Uday Chand Jha, Senior Scientist (Plant Breeding), ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh 208024, India
[email protected]

Dr. Anirudha Chattopadhyay, Assistant Professor (Plant Pathology), Pulses Research Station, S.D. Agricultural University, Sardarkrushinagar, Gujarat
[email protected]

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Designing Future Smart Crops for Climate Resilience and Stress Tolerance Through Embracing Emerging Molecular Tools

Stress is the major limitation in crop cultivation worldwide. Plants are exposed to various abiotic and biotic stressors including severe drought, flooding, poor soil health, extreme temperatures, outbreak of pests and diseases, etc., resulting in huge yield loss, especially in the scenario of climate change and global warming. Thus, it will be a challenge to ensure food security for the estimated global population of about 9.8 billion by 2050. As per the United Nations report, food demand to feed this massive global population will increase by 30-50 percent in 2050 as compared to recent times (2020). This will require about 590 million-hectares of more vegetative land for expansion of agriculture and desirable food production. In contrast, urbanization is foreseen to continue at an accelerating pace for 50-70 percent of the world’s population by 2050, thus decreasing the area of agricultural land. If climate change is taken into account, the risk of hunger will be serious for 30-90 percent of the world population. Sustainable approaches must be adopted to reduce the gaps for a better future.

The future of agriculture demands for ‘smart crops’ which can sense various abiotic and biotic stresses and adapt themselves in such stress conditions. Thus, designing these crop plants becomes a major challenge; instead of just genetic gains for superior yield, incorporating stress tolerance is also very crucial. Previously, conventional breeding approaches were mostly practiced for making desirable changes, but with many pros and cons. To avoid such problems, marker assisted selection (MAS) and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping have become very popular, but still have certain limitations. Furthermore, association mapping, speed breeding strategies, etc. are being approached for future smart crop designing with higher yield potential. Ideally, smart crops should have sufficient phenotypic adaptability to remain productive during unpredicted changes in climate or weather as well as protective traits against the emergence and reemergence of pests and pathogens. However, this is quite difficult to achieve through conventional and molecular breeding approaches alone. Thus, we have to shift toward modern biotechnological tools.

Recent developments in “omics” technologies like Genomics, Epigenomics, Transcriptomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, and Phenomics will help us to understand the problem of linking genes to traits and attributes. To avoid these, transgenic technologies became standardized for incorporating foreign genes involved in stress tolerance as well as trait improvement. But transgenics have limited acceptability in the public domain, especially in many developed and developing countries; thus, they have now become outdated with the development of genome editing tools, viz., TALEN, CRISPR/CAS, etc. These new tools are suitable not only for targeted genome modification; the specific gene expression can also be governed through the employment of synthetic promoters and synthetic transcription factors. This leads to the development of specific genotypes having enhanced productivity and robust disease resistance, even under changing climatic scenarios. These smart plants will be the new thrust for the future.

The goal of this Article Collection is to solicit the contribution and submission of any articles and findings in the area of plant biotechnology, especially in the following aspects:

  1. Designing smart crops for the future
  2. Molecular breeding approaches for smart crop designing
  3. Transgenic approaches for stress tolerance
  4. Genome engineering for stress tolerant crop plants
  5. Environment-responsive gene expression in crop plants

Dr. Uday Chand Jha works in the area related to abiotic stress breeding especially in heat and drought stress in grain legume crops for more than 12 years. His area of research focuses on genetics and molecular genomics elucidating heat stress and drought stress tolerance in chickpea and other legumes crops.

Anirudha Chattopadhyay is a plant pathologist, currently working as assistant professor of plant pathology at the Pulses Research Station, Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, Gujarat, India. He has research experience in the field of plant pathology, microbiology, molecular biology and plant virology. His is focusing in the research on plant-pathogen interaction and host plant resistance, application of modern biotechnological tools in plant pathology, etc.

All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo a full peer-review; the Guest Advisor for this collection will not be handling the manuscripts (unless they are an Editorial Board member). Please review the journal scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.

The deadline for submitting manuscripts is January 31, 2024.

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All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.