IJMS, Vol. 20, Pages 5837: Stay-Green Trait: A Prospective Approach for Yield Potential, and Drought and Heat Stress Adaptation in Globally Important Cereals (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
The yield losses in cereal crops because of abiotic stress and the expected huge losses from climate change indicate our urgent need for useful traits to achieve food security. The stay-green (SG) is a secondary trait that enables crop plants to maintain their green leaves and photosynthesis capacity for a longer time after anthesis, especially under drought and heat stress conditions. Thus, SG plants have longer grain-filling period and subsequently higher yield than non-SG. SG trait was recognized as a superior characteristic for commercially bred cereal selection to overcome the current yield stagnation in alliance with yield adaptability and stability. Breeding for functional SG has contributed in improving crop yields, particularly when it is combined with other useful traits. Thus, elucidating the molecular and physiological mechanisms associated with SG trait is maybe the key to defeating the stagnation in productivity associated with adaptation to environmental stress. This review discusses the recent advances in SG as a crucial trait for genetic improvement of the five major cereal crops, sorghum, wheat, rice, maize, and barley with particular emphasis on the physiological consequences of SG trait. Finally, we provided perspectives on future directions for SG research that addresses present and future global challenges.