1064 NEW INSIGHTS IN PLANT BREEDING EFFORTS FOR IMPROVED SALT TOLERANCE

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  • 1 USDA-ARS-PWA, U.S. Salinity Laboratory, 4500 Glenwood Drive, Riverside, CA 92501

The lack of improvement for salt tolerance has been attributed to insufficient genetic variation, a need for rapid and reliable genetic markers for screening, and the complexities of salinity × environment interactions. Salt tolerance is a quantitative character that has been defined in a multitude of ways subject to changes with plant development and differentiation; thus, assessing salt tolerance among genotypes that differ in growth or development rate is difficult. Salt tolerance also varies based upon concentrations of both major and minor nutrients in the root zone. Plant growth models may provide a method to integrate the complexities of plant responses to salinity stress with-the relevant environmental variables that interact with the measurement of tolerance. Mechanistic models have been developed over the last few years that are responsive to nitrogen or drought stress but not to salinity stress. Models responsive to salinity stress would provide insights for breeders and aid in the development of more practical research on the physiological mechanisms of plant salt tolerance.

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