stresses (Flowers and Yeo 1995; Flowers et al. 2000) . The molecular mechanisms underlying abiotic stress tolerances in plants are being unravelled with various high throughput sequencing and functional genomics tools in particular to advance the understanding of stress signal perception and transduction of the associated molecular regulatory networks (Heidarvand and Amiri 2010; Ray et al. 2010; Sanchez et al. 2011). Understanding the mechanisms by which plants perceive environmental signals and further their transmission to cellular machinery to activate adaptive responses is of critical importance for the development of rational breeding and transgenic strategies to impart stress tolerance in crops. Ultimately, marrying the physiological, biochemical and gene regulatory network knowledge will be essential to develop or select for stress-tolerant and high-yielding food crop cultivars.

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