Global food security depends on the increased production of cereals like wheat or barley. About two-thirds of Australian farmland, including a significant part of the wheat belt, may have potential salinity. The problem is even bigger at the global scale, with total cost of salinity estimated over $11 billion per year.
Over the past decades, breeding for salinity tolerance in cereals has focused mainly on genes that allow the plants to exclude salt.
This TIA research project is looking at other traits in barley and wheat that allow plants to survive salinity, such as transpirational control (how the plant regulates the movement of water and its evaporation from leaves) and oxidative stress tolerance (enzymes that enable the plant to withstand stresses such as drought, heat or salinity).
Genes controlling these traits will be identified and mapped, and molecular markers developed that breeders can use in breeding programs.
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