Review: Heat and drought tolerance in wheat – now and for the future (J Exp Bot)

Stress due to high heat and drought causes losses in wheat production all over the world. While genetic variation and quantitative trait loci for drought and heat tolerance are known, the genetic loci that underlie tolerance to these combined stress are likely different from those that underlie each stress alone, as responses to these stresses can be antagonistic. For example, when water is plentiful wheat can tolerate high temperatures through evaporative cooling, but this is not possible when heat is accompanied by drought. This review by Tricker and colleagues describes the known physiological traits and genetic control of heat and drought tolerance of wheat and discusses physiological traits that may underlie combined tolerance. The authors discuss opportunities and limitations in breeding for more tolerant varieties. They note that controlling water relations by management of spatial and temporal gas exchange would be useful for better combined tolerance in wheat. (Summary by Julia Miller) J. Exp. Bot. 10.1093/jxb/ery081