Targeting Crop Improvement to Adapt to Climate Change

The simplest approach to dealing with climate change is the identification of crops and cultivars already optimized for the new environments (see Braun et al., Chapter 7, this volume). However, further optimization of these crops may still be required to cope with other issues (e.g. differences in day length). Since the rate of change of climate is now faster than at any time (Jackson and Overpeck, 2000), traditional approaches to crop improvement may be insufficient to produce the required new varieties. The need to identify and introduce additional variation using wide crosses, mutagenesis or transgenesis will be essential (see Whitford et al., Chapter 12, this volume). In this chapter we will focus on some specific examples of key targets that could be modified by directed genetic approaches.

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