Background: In order to meet the demands of the ever-increasing human population, it has become necessary to raise climate-resilient crops. Plant breeding, which involves crossing and selecting superior gene pools, has contributed tremendously towards achieving this goal during the past few decades. The relatively newer methods of crop improvement based on genetic engineering are relatively simple, and targets can be achieved in an expeditious manner. More recently emerged genome editing technique using CRISPR has raised strong hopes among plant scientists for precise integration of valuable traits and removal of undesirable ones.
Conclusion: Genome editing using Site-Specific Nucleases (SSNs) is a good alternative to the plant breeding and genetic engineering approaches as it can modify the genomes specifically and precisely at the target site in the host genome. Another added advantage of the genome editing approach is the simpler biosafety regulations that have been adopted by many countries for commercialization of the products thus generated. This review provides a critical assessment of the available methods for improving the stress tolerance in crop plants. Special emphasis has been given on genome editing approach in light of the diversity of tools, which are being discovered on an everyday basis and the practical applications of the same. This information will serve as a beginner’s guide to initiate the crop improvement programs as well as giving technical insight to the expert to plan the research strategically to tackle even multigenic traits in crop plants.