Plant growth and productivity is adversely affected by environmental abiotic and biotic stresses. Drought is one of abiotic stresses that cause serious damage to plants. Therefore, understanding the extent of drought stress and assessing the mechanisms of drought tolerance in plants is very crucial to devise different coping mechanisms with the stresses. Brief discussions have been given on some of the terminologies such as drought tolerance vs. resistance; potential yield vs. yield potential, and water use efficiency. Mechanisms of adaptation to drought stress, inheritance of drought tolerance and the contribution of biotechnology to develop methods of coping up with the problems have been discussed. Finally, methods of screening for drought tolerance have been outlined. The integration of both agricultural practices and conventional and contemporary breeding strategies are necessary in developing crop varieties that are tolerant to abiotic stresses including drought.
Key words: Drought stress, resistance, root and tuber crops, tolerance.
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