Exploitation of drought tolerance-related genes for crop improvement
Drought has become a major threat to food security, because it affects crop growth and development. Drought tolerance is an important quantitative trait, which is regulated by hundreds of genes in crop plants. In recent decades, scientists have made considerable progress to uncover the genetic and molecular mechanisms of drought tolerance, especially in model plants. This review summarizes the evaluation criteria for drought tolerance, methods for gene mining, characterization of genes related to drought tolerance, and explores the approaches to enhance crop drought tolerance. Collectively, this review illustrates the application prospect of these genes in improving the drought tolerance breeding of crop plants.