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Pest and diseases: Old and new threats – Modern breeding tools to tailor new crop cultivars Volume 24, issue 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2013

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ICRISAT Centre of Excellence in Genomics (CEG), Patancheru – 502324 Greater Hyderabad India

Full yield potential of any crop cannot be harnessed completely due to several challenges such as biotic and abiotic, faced by the crops at various growth stages. Biotic stresses caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, pathogen, parasites, pests and weeds pose major threat to sustainable productivity by reducing yield from 30% in general to complete yield loss in some severe epidemic cases. Crop protection measures for safe-guarding crops such as use of synthetic pesticides, weedicides, etc. have largely been helpful in curtailing the losses, however, their haphazard use have caused adverse environmental and health hazards. Genetic alternatives such as introgression/pyramiding of genes/quantitative trait loci associated with resistance to target pest and diseases, on the other hand, is much ecological and eco-friendly approach. Although, there are several biotic stress agents for any crop, however, only a few pests or diseases cause major yield loss. It is beyond the scope of this review to cover all the pests and diseases affecting all the crops, thereby, focus has been given on major pests and diseases of representative crops such as rice (cereal), chickpea (legume) and tomato (vegetable). Special emphasis has been given on the current status and future prospects of deploying modern breeding approaches for developing improved cultivars with high resilience to major biotic stresses in order to achieve maximum genetic yield potential in all the crops.