• Abiotic stress causes major crop losses and is considered a greater challenge than
    biotic stress. Comparisons of the number of published articles and patents regarding
    these different types of stresses, and the number of commercially released crops
    designed to tolerate different types of stresses, revealed a huge gap in the benchto-
    field transfer rate of abiotic stress-tolerant crops, as compared to crops designed
    to tolerate biotic stress. These differences underscore the complexity of abiotic
    stress-response mechanisms. Here, we suggest that breeding programs favoring yieldrelated
    quantitative physiological traits (QPTs; e.g., photosynthesis rate or stomatal
    conductance) have canalized those QPTs at their highest levels. This has affected the
    sensitivity of those QPTs to changing environmental conditions and those traits have
    become less plastic. We also suggest that breeding pressure has had an asymmetric
    impact on different QPTs, depending on their sensitivity to environmental conditions
    and their interactions with other QPTs. We demonstrate this asymmetric impact on the
    regulation of whole-plant water balance, showing how plastic membrane water content,
    stomatal conductance and leaf hydraulic conductance interact to canalize whole-organ
    water content. We suggest that a QPT’s plasticity is itself an important trait and that
    understanding this plasticity may help us to develop yield-optimized crops.

  • “Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture,
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel”



    Copyright: published: 05 December 2017 doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.02067.

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