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Genomic Interventions for Biofortification of Food Crops

Bohra, A., Jha, U.C., Jha, R., Naik, S.J.S., Maurya, A.K. and Patil, P.G. (2019) Genomic Interventions for Biofortification of Food Crops. In: Quershi, A.M.I., Dar, Z.A. and Wani, S.H., (eds.) Quality Breeding in Field Crops. Springer Cham, pp. 1-21.

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Micronutrient deficiencies are reported to affect more than two billion people worldwide. Importantly, people inhabiting rural and semi-urban areas are more vulnerable to these nutritional disorders. In view of the inadequacy of nutrition-specific approaches that rely on changing the food-consumption behaviour, nutrition-sensitive interventions like crop biofortification offer sustainable means to address the problem of malnutrition worldwide. Biofortification enhances nutrient density in crop plants during plant growth through genetic or agronomic practices. Traditional plant breeding techniques and genetic engineering approaches are key to crop biofortification. Here, we summarize recent advances in genomics that have contributed towards the progress of crop biofortification. Rapidly evolving technologies like high-density genotyping assays have accelerated harnessing gains associated with natural variation of mineral contents available in crop wild relatives and landraces. The genetic nature of the mineral composition is being resolved, thus furthering the understanding of trait architecture. Conventional QTL mapping techniques have made significant contribution towards this end. New molecular breeding techniques like genome-wide association study (GWAS) and genomic selection (GS) are opening new avenues for capturing the maximum variation for elemental content, majorly explained by small-effect QTL. The potential of GS in this respect is enhanced several fold with the increasing availability of rapid generation advancement systems and high-throughput elemental profiling platforms. Evidences from latest research involving cutting-edge omics techniques including metabolomics help better elucidate nutrient metabolism in plants. Increasing the efficiency of biofortification breeding could enhance the rate of delivery of nutritionally rich cultivars of food crops, which will be easily accessible to a larger segment of nutrient-deficient people in the most cost-efficient way.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Springer Cham
Copyright: © 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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