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Our second rationale and justification of the work is the recognition that the major abiotic stresses - drought, termperature (low or high and freezing), and high salinity - cause a significant reduction in yield in most crop species. The effect of these stresses is economic hardship for farmers and it may be life-threatening for regions depending on subsistence farming. Some examples may highlight this problem. One example is rice production. Approximately half the rice consumed is obtained in dry-land, rain-fed cultivation. Drought can be devastating. Another example, more complex, is salinization. Some 15% of the worlds cultivated areas are irrigated and produce about one third of all products. Because long-term irrigation inevitably leads to increases in salinity (unless the excessions can be removed by large amounts of water) crop yields decline. Also, low or freezing temperature during germination or seedling establishment can cause problems later - slower or reduced vegetative growth can translate into lower seed or fruit production. Cumulatively, abiotic stresses are responsible for most of the discrepancy that exists between maximal and actual yield. Our focus has been on salt stress - to understand this stress, discern its osmotic and ionic stress components and to understand how (some) plants cope with this stress.
Detail of a microarray slide containing 2000 ESTs (cDNAs) from a cDNA library of drought-stressed barley roots. Each DNA element was printed four times. The hybridization compared control vs. drought-stressed transcripts. The false color representation indicates in red and white if a transcript is upregulated under drought conditions Öztürk et al. (2002) Plant Mol Biol, in press.
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| Contact Information: |
1201 W. Gregory Drive
Plant Biology / Crop Sciences Departments
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Page last updated:
28 September 2007