To respond to abiotic stresses, plants have evolved complex molecular,
cellular, and physiological mechanisms. In tortula moss (Syntrichia
caninervis), ALDH21 gene plays a role in responding to abiotic stresses, and
overexpression of this gene in tobacco and cotton improved tolerance to
drought and salt stresses. Thus, scientists from the Chinese Academy of
Sciences and partners developed transgenic ScALDH21 cotton and tested if it
is suitable for cultivating under water deficit conditions.
Results showed that overexpression of ScALDH21 in cotton led to higher net
photosynthetic rate, less cellular damage, more cellular protective
compounds, and enhanced growth compared with non-transgenic cotton under
drought stress in managed treatment plots. The yield of the transgenic
cotton plants under water deficit conditions was shown to be higher than the
yield of non-transgenic cotton in full irrigation conditions. Furthermore,
the fiber quality of transgenic cotton was improved.
Based on the findings, it was concluded that transgenic ScALDH21 cotton has
the potential to improve crop yields in water-limited agricultural