New Insights in Plant Breeding Efforts for Improved Salt Tolerance

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 U.S. Salinity Laboratory, USDA-ARS-PWA, 450 W. Big Springs Road, Riverside, CA 92507.

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 characteristic that has been defined in many 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 on concentrations of 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 developing more practical research on the physiological mechanisms of plant salt tolerance.

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