Luis Herrera-Estrella print  
Dr. Luis Herrera-Estrella graduated with a B.Sc. degree in Biochemical Engineering from the School of biological Sciences of the National Polytechnic Institute in 1978. In 1980 he received his M. Sc. from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico city and in 1984 his Ph. D. from the State University in Ghent, Belgium.
He has made important contributions to the field of plant molecular biology, especially in the study of gene regulation and in the development of gene transfer methods. While still working as a Ph. D. student he published the first report showing the successful transfer and expression of a bacterial gene in plant cells. He also pioneered the development of dominant selectable markers and the use of reporter genes for plant systems, which later became two of the most important tools to develop gene transfer systems for economically important crops.
He has published over 100 articles in peered-reviewed international journals. He has been awarded several national prizes, among them the award in biology from the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the National Art and Science award from the Mexican Government. He has also been honored with international awards such as the Minuro and Ethel Tsutsui Distinguished Graduate Research Award of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Javed Husain prize for young scientists from UNESCO. He was elected in 2003 foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences and is currently Director of the National Laboratory of Genomic for Biodiversity in Mexico.
Molecular and Genomic Approaches to Understand Drought Tolerance Mechanisms
The efficient use of water supplies requires a systems approach that encompasses all aspects of making water available and its use within society that must recognise global issues. Increasing the efficiency of water use within agricultural systems is an essential priority in many regions of the world. Research must combine the latest genomics resources including quantitative genetics, genomics and biomathematics with an ecophysiological understanding of the interactions between crop plant genotypes and the growing environment to better inform crop improvement. Drought stress is a major constraint to agricultural production and yield stability in many rainfed regions of Asia, Africa, and South America. Genetic improvement for adaptation to drought has been largely addressed through conventional approaches that select for yield and its stability over locations and years. Because of low heritability of yield under stress and inherent variation in the field, such selection programs are expensive and slow in attaining progress. The objective of this presentation is to review the current knowledge in physiology and molecular genetics that have implications in breeding for drought resistance in plants. Recent development of molecular linkage maps and other advances in molecular biology offer new opportunities for drought resistance breeding. Molecular markers linked to root traits and osmotic adjustment are being identified, which should lead to marker-assisted selection. Transgenic plants having tolerance to water deficit and osmotic stresses have been reported. Close collaboration between molecular geneticists, plant physiologists, and breeders is needed to critically assess the contribution of specific genes and application of molecular genetics to breeding for drought resistance in rice and other crops.