oa CSIR Science Scope - Africa's tough child, sorhum, helps develop drought tolerant maize : water : precious natural resource



As climate change threatens the food security of millions, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, understanding the underlying mechanisms of drought and heat tolerance in African cereal crops is imperative. A holistic approach is required to produce crops more resilient to climate change that involves complementing conventional breeding strategies with a thorough understanding of gene expression changes under stress conditions. Climate change scenarios include extended droughts, increase in daily temperature and flooding. Although strategies to slow down climate change are in place, these remain long term, and more immediate measures need to be implemented to ensure food security. We need to develop germplasm, which is the genetic material that is passed on from one generation to the next, of staple crops that is adapted to climate change.


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