Improved drought tolerance in wheat is required to unlock the production potential of the Brazilian Cerrado

Abstract Improving rainfed wheat cultivation in central Brazil, where the Cerrado biome (Brazilian savanna) is predominant, remains a bottleneck for future increases in domestic wheat production. In the Cerrado, the limited water availability during the wheat-growing season is an obstacle to increase wheat yield. To address this issue, the physiological and molecular drought response of wheat and the environmental conditions of this region must be better understood. In this review, we characterized the impact of drought on rainfed wheat production in the Cerrado. Based on the peculiarities of this environment, we suggest that certain traits should be prioritized in selection. These traits and their molecular basis are important to raise wheat yields in the Cerrado and also to improve food security in Brazil, one of the top wheat-importing countries in the world.