Conventional breeding approaches have had considerable impact in marginal environments as well as favourable ones. For example, economic analysis shows that in the late 1990s, around 25% of global wheat production increase came from improved production in marginal environments (Lantican et al., 2003). Much of this impact was achieved by combining genes of major effect associated with agronomic type, phenology and disease resistance into good yielding backgrounds. However, impacts have also been achieved more recently through targeting specific heat- and drought-adaptive traits in cereals. These have typically occurred for integrative traits, such as transpiration efficiency and canopy temperature (CT), which are composite measures of numerous physiological and morphological processes.
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