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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Discover Genetic Factor that Makes Barley Plants Resistant to Salt

October 31, 2012

Development of barley varieties which are both less sensitive to high concentrations of salt ions in the plant and more resistant to osmotic stress caused by saline soil would be be expedited with the research results of Nguyen Viet Long of Wageningen University. He studied growth of barley in high salt conditions and linked the delayed yellowing of leaves, number of shoots and ion contents in the leaves to DNA analysis.

He found that candidate genes on chromosome 4 affects how plants deal with increased concentrations of salt ions by using an ion pump that prevents high ion concentrations from reaching the leaves. On chromosome 6, he also found that one or more genes that make barley plants less sensitive to osmotic stress by not absorbing water as much, affecting growth of the plants. Nguyen is hopeful that with these results, the precise genes responsible for salt tolerance in barley will be identified soon to expedite salt tolerant variety development.

The original news can be viewed at http://phys.org/news/2012-10-scientists-genetic-factor-barley-resistant.html.