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Prospects for the accelerated improvement of the resilient crop quinoa


Marques, RLL and Norrevang, AF and Ache, P and Moog, M and Visintainer, D and Wendt, T and Osterberg, JT and Dockter, C and Jorgensen, ME and Salvador, AT and Hedrich, R and Gao, C and Jacobsen, SE and Shabala, SN and Palmgren, M, Prospects for the accelerated improvement of the resilient crop quinoa, Journal of Experimental Botany, 71, (18) pp. 5333-5347. ISSN 0022-0957 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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2020. The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1093/jxb/eraa285


Crops tolerant to drought and salt stress may be developed by two approaches. First, major crops may be improved by introducing genes from tolerant plants. For example, many major crops have wild relatives that are more tolerant to drought and high salinity than the cultivated crops, and, once deciphered, the underlying resilience mechanisms could be genetically manipulated to produce crops with improved tolerance. Secondly, some minor (orphan) crops cultivated in marginal areas are already drought and salt tolerant. Improving the agronomic performance of these crops may be an effective way to increase crop and food diversity, and an alternative to engineering tolerance in major crops. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), a nutritious minor crop that tolerates drought and salinity better than most other crops, is an ideal candidate for both of these approaches. Although quinoa has yet to reach its potential as a fully domesticated crop, breeding efforts to improve the plant have been limited. Molecular and genetic techniques combined with traditional breeding are likely to change this picture. Here we analyse protein-coding sequences in the quinoa genome that are orthologous to domestication genes in established crops. Mutating only a limited number of such genes by targeted mutagenesis appears to be a promising route for accelerating the improvement of quinoa and generating a nutritious high-yielding crop that can meet the future demand for food production in a changing climate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:chenopodium quinoa, drought tolerance, genome editing, molecular breeding, orphan crops, salt tolerance
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Agrochemicals and biocides (incl. application)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Shabala, SN (Professor Sergey Shabala)
ID Code:151721
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited On:2022-08-03
Last Modified:2022-10-24
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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