Phenotyping for drought adaptation in wheat using physiological traits

Wheat (Triticum spp) is one of the first domesticated food crops. It represents the first source of calories (after rice) and an important source of proteins in developing countries. As a result of the Green Revolution, wheat yield sharply increased due to the use of improved varieties, irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers. The rate of increase in world wheat production, however, slowed after 1980, except in China, India, and Pakistan. Being adapted to a wide range of moisture conditions, wheat is grown on more land area worldwide than any other crop, including in drought prone areas. In these marginal rain-fed environments where at least 60 m ha of wheat is grown, amount and distribution of rainfall are the predominant factors influencing yield variability. Intensive work has been carried out in the area of drought adaptation over the last decades. Breeding strategies for drought tolerance improvement include: definition of the target environment, choice and characterization of the testing environment, water stress management and characterization, and use of phenotyping traits with high heritability. The use of integrative traits, facilitated by the development and application of new technologies (thermal imaging, spectral reflectance, stable isotopes) is facilitating high throughput phenotyping and indirect selection, consequently favoring yield improvement in drought prone environments.

Citation: Monneveux, P.; Jing, R.; Misra, S.C. 2012. Phenotyping for drought adaptation in wheat using physiological traits. In: Monneveux, P.; Ribaut, J.M.; Okono, A. (eds.). Drought phenotyping in crops: From theory to practice. (USA). Frontiers Media S.A. ISBN 978-2-88919-181-9. pp. 126-137.