A collaborative research project between Australian and Chinese scientists has shown how soybean can be bred to better tolerate soil salinity.
The researchers, at the University of Adelaide in Australia and the Institute of Crop Sciences in the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, have identified a specific gene in soybean that has great potential for soybean crop improvement.
"Soybean is the fifth largest crop in the world in terms of both crop area planted and amount harvested," says the project's lead, University of Adelaide researcher Associate Professor Matthew Gilliham. "But many commercial crops are sensitive to soil salinity and this can cause major losses to crop yields.
"On top of that, the area of salt-affected agricultural land is rapidly increasing and is predicted to double in the next 35 years. The identification of genes that improve crop salt tolerance will be essential to our efforts to improve global food security."
Professor Lijuan Qiu and Dr Rongxia Guan at the Institute of Crop Sciences pinpointed a candidate salt tolerance gene after examining the genetic sequence of several hundred soybean varieties. Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus then investigated the function of this gene.
"We initially identified the gene by comparing two commercial cultivars," says Professor Qiu. "We were surprised and pleased to see that this gene also conferred salt tolerance in some other commercial cultivars, old domesticated soybean varieties and even wild soybean.
"It appears that this gene was lost when breeding new cultivars of soybean in areas without salinity. This has left many new cultivars susceptible to the rapid increases we are currently seeing in soil salinity around the world."
By identifying the gene, genetic markers can now be used in breeding programs to ensure that salt tolerance can be maintained in future cultivars of soybean that will be grown in areas prone to soil salinity.
"This gene functions in a completely new way from other salt tolerance genes we know about," says Associate Professor Gilliham. "We can now use this information to find similar genes in different crops such as wheat and grapevine, to selectively breed for their enhanced salt tolerance."
This research has received support from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and is a feature article in The Plant Journal.
Dr. Matthew Gilliham | EurekAlert!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences