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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2006 Apr;17(2):113-22. Epub 2006 Feb 21.

Engineering drought tolerance in plants: discovering and tailoring genes to unlock the future.

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  • 1Gene Discovery Research Group, RIKEN Plant Science Center, 1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Yokohama, Kanagawa 203-0045, Japan.


The ability of plants to tolerate drought conditions is crucial for agricultural production worldwide. Recent progress has been made in our understanding of gene expression, transcriptional regulation and signal transduction in plant responses to drought. Molecular and genomic analyses have facilitated gene discovery and enabled genetic engineering using several functional or regulatory genes to activate specific or broad pathways related to drought tolerance in plants. Several lines of evidence have indicated that molecular tailoring of genes has the potential to overcome a number of limitations in creating drought-tolerant transgenic plants. Recent studies have increased our understanding of the regulatory networks controlling the drought stress response and have led to practical approaches for engineering drought tolerance in plants.

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