Australian scientists have introduced a non-genetically modified durum wheat, which produces improved grain yield in soils with up to 25% salinity. Here are some facts as gleaned from ScienceDaily (2012):
- Research was led by scientists at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute
- Field studies were a great success.
- The new wheat’s grain yields in salty soils out performed regular durum wheat’s yields under normal conditions.
- The research was a collaborative project between CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of Adelaide, the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
- Australia is the second-largest exporter of wheat, after the United States.
- Salinity affects over 20% of the world’s soils.
- Due to climate change, salinity increasingly threatens the global food supply.
- Domestication and breeding has narrowed the durum wheat gene pool, which leaves it susceptible to environmental duress.
- Researchers discovered a salt-tolerant gene in an ancient ancestral relative to modern wheat, Triticum monococcum.
- The ScienceDaily article, World Breakthrough on Salt-Tolerant Wheat. Free
- Source Article from Nature Biotechnology: Wheat Grain Yield on Saline Soils is Improved by an Ancestral Na+ Transporter Gene. NOTE: This article, written by the researchers themselves, costs $32 (U.S.)
2012 World Breakthrough on Salt-Tolerant Wheat. ScienceDaily (published online March 11, 2012). Electronic document, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120311150717.htm, accessed March 11, 2012.
Non-GM Salt Tolerant Wheat First of its Kind by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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